A constitutional court in Italy ruled last week that children should be given the last names of both their parents, as the current practice of giving babies only the surname of the father is discriminatory against the mother.
In a statement, the court said the practice of giving only the father’s last name to a child is “discriminatory and harmful to the identity” of the child, and that parents should be allowed to decide whether the child uses one of their last names or both, and in what order.
In order for the ruling to become law, new legislation must be drawn up and voted upon in government. Family minister Elena Bonetti, said in a statement this week the ruling is “a recognition of the history, value, biography of women” and said parliament stands ready to support the move.
“We need to give substance [to the decision] … and it is a high priority and urgent task of politics to do so,” Minister Bonetti said.
The case was brought to court by a family whose two oldest children bore only the surname of their mother, as they were not legitimately recognized by their father until later. The couple went to court because they wished to give their newborn baby the mother’s last name as well, so as to match up with its siblings, but their request was denied.
The family’s lawyer, Domenico Pittella, told the Washington Post after the decision that it was “landmark judgment” in Italy that “acknowledged that it is in the best interest of the newborn child that the choices of his parents” dictate his name, rather than being “imposed by an outdated model of the patriarchal family.”
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: USA TODAY
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