Italy: Rainbow family rights triggering important questions about the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community in Italy and beyond

Italy: Rainbow family rights triggering important questions about the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community in Italy and beyond
AlexanderGrey via Pixabay


Author: Marina Anastasilaki,

Europe and Human Rights Researcher,

Global Human Rights Defence 

Over the course of the past two weeks, a domestic Italian matter has arisen in the context of the rights of same-sex couples with mayors of Italian cities being prevented from registering foreign birth certificates when brought by same-sex couples. In 2018, Maria Silvia Fiengo and Fransesca Pardi were among Italy’s first same-sex couples to be registered as parents. Nevertheless, this remarkable victory towards equal rights for everyone has been reversed during this past March, when the Italian government instructed Milan’s city council to stop registering the children of same-sex parents. This turn of events has triggered protests in Milan with people marching for the purpose of not discriminating against families. As Maria Silvia Fiengo has stated, ‘we were always a family, but being officially recognized as such by our own mayor made us feel welcome’

It is of fundamental importance to address such issues in the context of contemporary society; the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community are an integral part of human rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 states in article 2 that “everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status’. Discriminating against families on the sole basis of the same-sex parent model interferes with the very essence of this article. In December 2021, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled in a landmark judgment in the case ‘Stolichna obshtina, rayon Pancharevo’ that a child and its same-sex parents must be officially recognized as a family. 

Depriving children and their parents of their right to be recognized as a family is a violation of human rights and an act of discrimination. The official recognition of the so-called rainbow families is of vital importance for  a modern society striving for inclusion and equality. 

Sources and further reading 

Genovese, V. (2023, 30 March). Rainbow family controversy in Italy slowly turning into full-blown EU dispute. Euronews.

Ghiglione, D. (2023, 18 March). Italy leaves children of same-sex parents in limbo. BBC News. 

Ilga Europe. (2021, 14 December). Top EU Court recognizes relationship of same-sex parents and their children under EU law. Ilga Europe.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted December 10, 1948,