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Italian children should not automatically have father's surname, says court

The court said Italian parents should be able to choose their child's surname.
The court said Italian parents should be able to choose their child's surname. Copyright AP Photo/Stefano Cavicchi, File
Copyright AP Photo/Stefano Cavicchi, File
By Euronews with ANSA
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The court ruled that Italy's historical model of the patriarchal family was "discriminatory".


Italy's Constitutional Court has ruled that children should not automatically be given the surname of their father at both.

The court said that a child should instead have the surnames of both parents if they cannot agree on one surname.

Wednesday's ruling overturns a long-standing tradition in Italy that all newborns are automatically named after their father.

The court ruled that the historical norm is "discriminatory and harmful to the identity" of the child, and said both parents should be able to choose the surname.

Italy's parliament is now due to approve new legislation to align with the court's ruling.

"This issue has been dragging on from one parliamentary term to the next, it is time to decide," said Renate Gebhard, president of the South Tyrolean People's Party (SVP).

"It is now up to Parliament to make this leap forward in terms of civilisation," added Laura Boldrini, an MP for the Democratic Party.

"Parents have equal responsibility and equal rights, no more discrimination that penalises mothers and children."

Italy's Family Minister Elena Bonetti said on Facebook the government would fully support the new law.

"We need to give substance [to the decision] and it is a high priority and urgent task of politics to do so," she wrote, adding that parents should take equal responsibility for a child's upbringing.

Additional sources • Reuters

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