Landmark gay adoption ruling fuels storm

Bishops daily blasts Vendola for using 'human market'

(ANSA) - Rome, March 1 - Rome's tribunal for minors has recognised a lesbian couple's adoption of each other's biological daughters, two gay rights associations announced Tuesday, adding that it was a first for Italy. The court upheld two appeals from lawyer Francesca Quarato, a founding member of the Rete Lenford (Lenford Network) gay rights group, representing the Famiglie Arcobaleno (Rainbow Families) association of gay parents and their children.
    The court based itself on current legislation on "adoptions in special cases", which means the children - two girls aged four and eight - will have the same double-barrelled surname but will not be legally considered sisters.
    Quarato explained that the special cases adoption law "confers lesser guarantees to the minor when compared to the recognition of full, legitimate parenthood" such as the children of heterosexual married couples currently enjoy.
    However, the ruling does proved both children with more protection than they would otherwise have had, she said.
    "In this way, each (of the minors) has a biological parent and a social parent, both of them with full and equal parenting capacities and responsibilities," Quarato explained.
    Rete Lenford President Maria Grazia Sangalli and Rainbow Families President Marilena Grassadonia hailed the ruling.
    "This is the only recourse same-sex couples have in order to legally adopt their partners' children, in the absence of a law on the matter," said Sangalli.
    The Senate last week passed a civil unions bill recognizing gay couples and extending to them some of the same rights and privileges straight couples enjoy - minus a measure on the couples' rights to adopt each other's children, which was dropped on the demand of Catholic conservatives.
    The anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) on Tuesday called for a referendum on gay adoptions while Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, leader of the junior government partner New Centre Right (NCD) reaffirmed his opposition to "every kind of adoption" by same-sex couples, announcing a new proposal to make surrogate motherhood a universal crime. The rightwing anti-immigrant Northern League called on Lower House Speaker Laura Boldrini to "intervene immediately - a court can't decide (on these matters)" and the small rightwing Brothers of Italy (FdI) party said civil unions laws are just "a Trojan horse to allow the courts to decide... instead of politics".


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