Grillo & His Band of Flying Monkeys Do A Good Turn for the Far Right — and Help Keep Children Out of the Filthy Hands of Italy’s Froci
In case you’re wondering what’s going on in Italy, which is in first place as the last of the major European Union countries to create some form of marriage equality: The bill that has been wending its way through Parliament for weeks, mercilessly bludgeoned as it went, will now apparently go to an actual vote.
The political maneuvering, on the part of the Italian version of the Libertarians-meet-the-Tea-Party (the Movimento Cinque Stelle or “Five-Star Movement”) and Catholic “liberals” (in the sense that they draw the line at public execution of homosexuals and women who’ve had abortions), has been ghastly. The far-right Lega Nord, for example, proposed 5,000 amendments to the original bill, most of which were literally nonsense generated by a random-language generator.
They demanded that each amendment be discussed and voted upon. The “Five-Star Movement” agreed. Because it wouldn’t be democratic NOT to debate and vote on such things as one proposed change, which modified the language of the bill from “the central administrative office of each city will record the names of all married couples” to “everyone will have sex in the central administrative office of each city.”
No, really. Not making this up….
Yes, it is true, in the interests of absolute accuracy, that the Lega Nord magnanimously agreed to reduce the 5000 amendments to 500, thereby assuring that debate would only have lasted months rather than an entire year. The idiot children of the Movimento Cinque Stelle, who pitched a parliamentary temper tantrum to make sure this took place, insisted and continue to insist that those 500 amendments could and should have been debated and voted upon. For them, what matters is the appearance of democracy, not its actual practice. Thus, wasting hundreds of hours and untold thousands of euros to debate nonsense amendments was a better practice of democracy than granting simple rights to people who’ve been waiting for decades to stop being treated like second-class citizens. And that’s why I call bullshit on the M5S and all its minions.
The upshot, reported widely in the press, is that there was no actual way for the bill to go forward — unless there was a “compromise”: the removal of the so-called “stepchild adoption” clause (also called in Italian, for reasons that semioticians may debate, “stepchild adoption”).
So for their “purity,” the M5S members of Italy’s parliament helped ensure that second parent adoption for same-sex couples would have to be fought another day. And I hope that helps them sleep at night.
What this means is that queers may be allowed to marry, but if one of them has children—or if they end up with children along the way (artificial insemination, adoption abroad, surrogacy, etc.)—the nonbiological or “non-legal” parent will remain a “stranger” to the child and will have no parental rights. Nor, more importantly, will that child have rights to her or his second parent.
If the biological or legal parent dies, the state may well place the child that she or he raised not with the surviving parent but in someone else’s family.
P.S. Among the talking points now being repeated by M5S members is the fiction that second-parent adoption has always been available to same-sex couples in Italy, so nothing has changed. It isn’t true.
In fact, as Franco Grillini, president of Gaynet Italia, wrote on February 23:
After 30 years, we’ve given birth to a [law] that excludes the rights of children whose only crime is that of belonging to homosexual parents. The dignity and ability of those parents cannot be recognized, not even if it means the creation of orphans. There is a cruelty at work here, a putrid kind of evil that is born in the ideological furor that only a certain species of bigot is capable of producing. The truth is that they will stop at nothing to refuse to recognize the dignity and the right to a family life of same-sex couples. They refuse in every possible way to imagine that a [gay] man might be capable of changing his own child’s diapers or of carrying out his role as a parent just like any heterosexual man. At the meeting of the members of parliament from the NCD [the Nuovo Centrodestra or New Center Right, a political party that the current Interior Minister, Angelino Alfano, founded and now heads], we can well bet that it will not be enough to have created a nation of orphans. Alfano and his followers will look forward to eliminating survivor’s benefits for same-sex spouses, the ability of the members of a same-sex couple to legally change their last names to reflect the reality of their family, the right to share in a spouse’s retirement pension, and much much more. Umberto Eco once said that men never commit evil with as much conviction or as much enthusiasm as when they do so for religious motives.
The first queer families with children in the U.S. were legally created through the use of second-parent adoption, and that’s a useful history lesson. Parent B (the nonbiological parent) petitioned to be allowed to adopt the child of her spouse (usually, at least in those early days, a woman who’d been artificially inseminated), thus creating a child with two legal parents and two parents with equal legal obligations to the child.
Because that’s in the best interest of the child. Which ought to be clear to anyone who professes to care about the welfare of children.
That process — which focused on what was good for children — predated gay marriage by many decades. For years, it was only available in a few enlightened cities, and even there it depended upon which family court judge you happened to get. In other words: Yes, very probably in San Francisco, but you did not want to try that in East Texas.
It’s also worth remembering that Italy has been agonizing for an entire decade over whether to come into the 21st century and grant some form of recognition to same-sex couples. In recent weeks, it looked like progress might finally have arrived. And then the specter of homosexuals with children was raised, and a whole lot of people (including the “Good Pope”) essentially lost their fucking minds.