Italy: Treat surrogate parents as sex offenders, says Italian minister

Italy’s interior minister has called for surrogate parents to be treated as sex offenders, as part of a broader campaign against the prime minister’s efforts to grant family rights to same-sex couples.

“We want ‘wombs for rent’ to become a universal crime. And that it is punished with prison. Just as happens for sexual crimes,” Angelino Alfano said.

The minister’s comments outline the fierce debate over family rights under way in Italy as the country prepares to give gay couples legal rights for the first time. The push for same-sex unions and stepchild adoption rights has proved perhaps the greatest challenge in the first two years of Matteo Renzi’s coalition government.

Surrogacy is illegal in Italy and punishable by steep fines and up to two years in prison, although a legal grey area has meant that couples who travel abroad for surrogacy are not prosecuted when they return home. A “family day” held in June brought hundreds of thousands of people to Rome, marching against proposed legal changes and lessons about gay families in schools. Read more via the Guardian