ROME, Italy (LifeSiteNews) — Italian children will no longer be automatically assigned their father’s last name at birth after a constitutional court in Rome ruled that it was unconstitutional to do so.
Italy’s Constitutional Court issued its judgment on Wednesday last week saying that it was “discriminatory and detrimental to the identity of the child” to “automatically assign the surname of his father” at birth.
“In accordance with the principle of equality, and in the interest of the child, both parents must be able to share in the choice of [their child’s] surname, which is a fundamental element of personal identity,” the court stated.
This means that Italian children will now be assigned both their parent’s surnames at birth unless the parents mutually agree to give their child only one surname.
“The rule becomes that the child will take the surname of both parents in the order agreed by them, unless they decide, by mutual agreement, to give only the surname of one of the two,” the court decreed.
For the first time, this also means that it will be possible for Italian children to only carry their mother’s name, should both parents agree.
The court also specified that this ruling will apply to children of both married and unmarried couples, as well as adopted children.
The ruling came after a request by two Italian parents to give their newborn baby the mother’s last name was denied, as the previous law only allowed for the child to carry either the father’s last name or a hyphenated name composed of both surnames.
Domenico Pittella, the family’s lawyer, told The Washington Post that the ruling was a “landmark judgment” for Italy that “acknowledged that it is in the best interest of the newborn child that the choices of his parents” dictate what the child’s name should be.
Pittella also argued that a child’s last name should not be “imposed by an outdated model of the patriarchal family.”
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Christians are being attacked relentlessly by violent Hindus in India, but some Indian states are compounding this persecution by jailing those accused of converting Hindus to Christ.
Using "anti-conversion laws", eight Indian states have outlawed any attempt by minority faiths such as Christianity to convert members of the majority Hindu population.
Please tell Indian legislators that their anti-conversion laws must be scrapped.
Christians know that, like St. Paul who himself was jailed (2 Tim 2:8-10), we cannot remain silent in announcing Christ to unbelievers (Acts 5:17-26), but our Indian brothers and sisters in faith are being imprisoned on trumped up charges when they have not violated any of these unjust laws.
Legislators in eight Indian states have created vaguely-worded "anti-conversion laws", leaving the door wide open to minorities being accused of "allurement" or "coercion" when sharing their faith with Hindus.
The wording often states that "no person should convert or attempt to convert, either directly or indirectly, any person from one religion to another by use of force or by allurement or by any fraudulent means".
The states of Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand have already introduced these laws, with several more expected to follow.
Legislators have ignored the fact Christians are entirely opposed to forced conversions or deception, instead bowing to the demands of Hindu extremists worried that Christ is winning the hearts of Indians long maltreated in the inhumane caste system.
The false allegations of coercion made against Christians have resulted in the widespread persecution of believers across the country.
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As K.V. Turley reported on LifeSiteNews, one reason Christians and other minorities are persecuted is because of the growing popularity of the nationalist Hindutva ideology.
This ideology demands a Hindu-only India, resulting in sustained violence against those who would lead Hindus to Christ.
Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, then-General Secretary of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India, said as early as 2018 that even members of the ruling Barathiya Janata Party (BJP) are "using false accusations to incite hate. And nobody in their party or in the government is revoking their problematic statements.”
The latest anti-conversion bill is set to be passed in Karnataka state, where Christians will face jail terms of up to 10 years if found guilty of converting others by alleged "force", "fraudulent methods", or as a result of marriage.
Karnataka has seen a significant increase in Hindu attacks on Christian priests, pastors and laity, with the BBC reporting at least one violent incident in 21 out of 31 districts.
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Right-wing Hindu radicals are known to barge into houses or churches where prayer sessions are conducted and demand the identity of those in attendance.
If Hindus are in the audience, conversion charges are pressed and the pastors are arrested. The onus of proof is on the pastors, catechists or priests.
Another issue is that Catholic priests, brothers and nuns teach, educate and empower the dalits (untouchables), the tribals and the poor. These then stand up for their rights, which is not pleasing to many politicians.
This petition will be sent to the Indian ambassadors to the USA and Canada, the Ambassador at Large of the United States for International Religious Freedom, the High Representative of the EU's Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and the president of India's ruling BJP party.
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**Photo Credit: Video screenshot of a statue of Christ about to be destroyed by authorities in Karnataka on February 14, 2022**
Cecilia D’Elia an Italian center-left Member of Parliament who calls herself a feminist, welcomed the court’s ruling, describing it as the abolition of “the last patriarchal aspect of family law.”
La @CorteCost cancella l’ultimo segno patriarcale del diritto di famiglia, il #cognomematerno avrà pari dignità di quello del padre, un segno di civiltà. Adesso tocca al parlamento #cognomematerno https://t.co/ML5M3cCYKv
— Cecilia D’Elia (@ceciliadelia) April 27, 2022
Elena Bonetti, the Italian minister of family and equal opportunities, also saluted the ruling which she described as “another fundamental step in achieving equal rights between the women and men in our country.”
In an interview with Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera, she called automatically assigning children their father’s last name a form of “discrimination against women and children.”
In the U.S., though it is legal for children to be given their mother’s name instead of their father’s, the practice is still very uncommon.
According to Fatherly, in 2002, 97% of married parents gave their children only their father’s last name. In 2017, this number had dropped by only one percent at 96%.
In Italy, the legislature is now focusing on passing laws in order to implement the new ruling.