Children in Italy should receive their mother’s and father’s last names, court rules

An Italian court on Wednesday ruled that children born in the country should be given both their mother’s and father’s last names when they are born.

Italy’s Constitutional Court called the automatic tradition of giving a baby only their father’s last name “discriminatory and harmful to the identity” of a child, as translated by Reuters. The court called for parents to choose the order of the child’s last names, or whether they want to use one of their last names.

Families in Italy have not been allowed to give children only their mother’s last name, except in certain cases, such as when a father is not willing to be part of the child’s life, The New York Times reported. Parents in Italy were able to choose to keep both parents’ last names on their child’s birth certificate.

“Both parents should be able to share the choice of a surname, which is a fundamental element for one’s personal identity,” the court wrote, as translated by the Times.

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The court had reviewed the case of a family from the city of Potenza, the outlet reported. The family had three children, and two were able to go by their mother’s last name, but the third could not be given the same last name as her siblings as she was born after her parents were married.

The country’s parliament will have to pass legislation to implement the court’s decision, according to multiple reports. Italy’s Minister for Family and Equal Opportunities Elena Bonetti in a post on Facebook urged lawmakers to “give substance” to the decision.