Surrogate parents should be treated as sex offenders and sent to prison, said Italy’s interior minister, escalating his opposition to plans to give gay and unmarried heterosexual couples legal recognition.
Italy is the last major country in the West that has not given same-sex couples rights or protection on issues such as parenthood.
It was condemned last year by the European Court of Human Rights for failing to legislate on the matter.
But minister Angelino Alfano, whose small New Centre Right party opposes any form of surrogacy, is incensed by a proposal to let gay partners adopt their stepchildren, saying this subverts traditional family values.
“Stepchild [adoption] really risks bringing the country closer to wombs-for-rent, towards the most vile, illegal trade that man has invented,” Alfano told Italy’s mainstream Roman Catholic newspaper, Avvenire.
“We want wombs-for-rent to become a universal crime, which is punished with a jail term. Just as happens for sex crimes,” he added.
Matteo Renzi, the centre-left prime minister, had promised to legalise civil unions before the end of 2015, but the deadline slipped though coalition infighting.
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