VENICE, September 4, 2013 ( – The municipal government of the city of Venice, Italy has passed a law banning the terms “mother” and “father on forms parents must fill out to gain a place for their children at publicly funded day care and kindergartens. 

The “civil rights and anti-discrimination” policy was introduced by city councilor Camilla Seibezzi, who said that such changes to language are a fundamental objective to combat stereotypes. “The [linguistic] construction forms a category of thought, a daily practice,” she said. 

The newspaper, Corriere del Veneto, reports that the terms will be replaced by “parent 1” and “parent 2”. The change has not been popular, however, and Seibezzi has lodged a complaint with police against comments posted to a social media platform that she says were threatening. 

Seibezzi told the Venetian daily La Nuova that “rainbow families” that are not recognized in Italian law are “the reality of our daily lives”. Seibezzi, whose profession is city planning, was appointed by mayor of Venice, Giorgio Orsoni, to head the newly established delegation for “LGBTQ civil rights and anti-discrimination policies”. 


“I’m going forward,” she said. “My first choice is not to be ‘popular,’ but I am convinced that we have done the right thing.” She called the change “a very small step towards the civil rights of all”. 

The Councilor for Youth, Gianfranco Bettin, told the paper, “You have read, incredibly, that this would mean ‘the end of the family’ or ‘the cancellation of the roles of mother and Daddy’. In fact, the use only of the term ‘parent’ … does not take away any role from anyone and does not produce (or maybe would record) the end of anything.” 

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The move has received mixed responses from politicians, even from Mayor Orsoni, who said he had not been consulted. “I knew nothing,” he said. “Delegates, before launching any initiative, will have to speak with me.” 

Simone Venturini, leader for the City of Venice of the Unione dei Democratici Cristiani e di Centro, (UDC), said, “The delegation of civil rights is a personal decision of the mayor and not agreed upon by the majority, so that each initiative will have to be evaluated or rejected. 

“We do not feel bound by the agreement of the majority of this delegation,” she added. “For us, the family is made up of men and women, but that does not take away the rights of others. Editing the labels [‘mother’ and ‘father’] I do not think gives substance to rights.” 

The changes were hailed by Italy’s leading homosexualist lobby group, Arcigay, as a major step forward and the group expressed their “solidarity, esteem” and “closeness” to Seibezzi. The president of Arcigay, Flavio Romans, said in a statement that the alleged death threats made against her “are the unacceptable outcome of a climate of hatred fomented openly by politics”. Romans said it is “desirable, if not a duty” to extend the change to “all local authorities”.