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Italian Court Rules Children Should Be Given Both Mother's And Father's Surname

Italian Court Rules Children Should Be Given Both Mother's And Father's Surname

The court ruled that only giving babies their father's last name is ‘discriminatory and harmful'.

Italian children will now be given the surnames of both parents, following a landmark ruling which overturns a tradition that sees babies automatically inherit their father's last name.

The Italian Constitutional Court has determined the tradition is 'discriminatory and harmful to the identity' of the child.

In its historical ruling, the court recognised that 'in the principle of equality and in the interest of the child, both parents must be able to share the choice on the [baby's] surname'.

Married parents in Italy no longer have to give their children their father's surname.
Luca Antonio Lorenzelli / Alamy Stock Photo

The parents behind the landmark ruling said they were 'moved' and were 'aware that we have written an important, perhaps historic page' in the record books for families across Italy, as reported by Italian news outlet Sky tg24.

The couple had their first two children out of wedlock, and the babies were therefore given their mother's surname as per Italian law.

The couple then married, and, when their third child arrived, they requested to give their baby the same surname as their other children.

The court refused, leading the couple to launch legal proceedings in 2020 to overturn the legislation that would force them give their third child the father's surname.

Lawyer Domenico Pittella, who was advocating for the unnamed couple, described the decision as having 'enormous importance because it places mother and father on an equal footing [with] freedom of choice'.

He added: "Furthermore, the ruling establishes that in the event that there is no agreement between the couple, the children will be given the surname of both parents: A real revolution."

Minister of Justice Marta Cartabia praised the court's decision.

"Thanks to the Constitutional Court, another step forward towards effective gender equality in the family", she said, according to Sky tg24.

Family Minister Elena Bonetti said in a post on Facebook that the government would fully support parliament in the process to update relevant legislation.

"We need to give substance [to the decision] ... and it is a high priority and urgent task of politics to do so," she wrote.

"Today reminds us that the time has come to change... even in the assignment of the surname [to show that there is] equal responsibility between mothers and fathers.

"I guarantee the support of the Government to take another fundamental step in achieving equal rights between the and women and men of our country."

Featured Image Credit: CoCo Jones / Alamy Stock Photo. Masoud rezaeipoor lasaki Bluemoon1981 / Alamy Stock Photo.

Topics: News, Parenting