A Look at Italy’s New Minister for Family

Italy, after months of crisis and changes of mind, finally managed to create a new government on June 1, when the new Prime Minister, together with the different Ministers making up the governing body, swore loyalty to the Constitution and the Republic. While there have been several elements about these elections that destabilized Italians, seeing the list of Ministers was perhaps the most shocking one.

Lorenzo Fontana is the new Minister for Family and Disability. This man, however, has proved himself to be a firm holder of outdated beliefs. Linked to the far-right party Lega Nord, notoriously known for its conservative positions, it is tragically ironic that a man sustaining that gay families do not exist has been appointed to administrate familiar affairs.

Last February, he published a volume against same-sex unions, immigration, abortion laws, globalization and the lowering of the birth rate. Essentially, he argues against everything that, through decades of struggles and protest movements, has made Italy a somewhat progressive and human state.

His agenda includes “making clinics more powerful so that they can dissuade women from aborting.” He has referred to abortion as the “first cause of murders of women in the world.” He believes that Europe needs to become younger, not through allowing refugees and migrants, but through more births and thinks that restricting abortions could help to improve the birth rate. However, to make this even more Middle-Ages-like, he has also defined the practice of surrogate mothers as as “human trade.

However, his most unpopular takes have been on LGBT+ families and individuals. He has claimed that “families with two men or two women do not exist.” In 2016, he claimed that “for Lega Nord, there is only one family: made up of a man, a woman and children,” demonstrating clear parallels with the Fascist era and the 1950s nuclear family in America. Minister Fontana has even made the hilarious statement that “the natural family is under attack — gay people want to dominate us and cancel our population.” LGBT+ organization ArciGay president, Marilena Grassadonia, said:

“We are shocked in seeing a Minister for Family so detached from reality in which he lives in. How does a Minister in our Republic affirm that us and our children do not exist, when not only our kids are perfectly integrated in society, in schools, among their peers, but tens of sentences of the Constitutional Court and Court of Appeal, and more and more cities recognize our children from birth, certify that we, in effect, exist, also legally, for the Italian State.”

According to his statements, these controversial positions are due to his Catholic faith. On that note, he believes that Catholics are discriminated in Italian society (despite statistics showing that they make up a clear majority of the faiths, 74.4% in 2017), as well as around the world. He has claimed that this is almost seem as a “shame mark.” He proposed the “defense of Christians in countries of Muslim majority” and, worst of them all, to “provide immediate and targeted assistance to Christian refugees”.

While he cannot make any substantial changes to the laws for LGBT+ civil unions or abortion, since it would become an anti-constitutional move, the scenery for the next few years in Italy looks to be rather bleak and socially outdated.

Photo: L’Espresso

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