"This place is filled by the beauty of the family, opposed to ideologies but not to people. Our gathering is the only civilized and honest way to show what the common feeling of Italians really is." Massimo Gandolfini, leader of the "Comitato difendiamo i nostri figli" (Committee we defend our children", opened the Family Day, that brought together hundreds of thousands of families at the Circo Massimo on Saturday, January 30th.
While Cirinnà‘s bill—to introduce same-sex civil unions and stepchild adoption, that is, the possibility to adopt the partner‘s child—is being debated in the Senate, a people that is quiet but firmly attached to its values, has gathered from all over Italy in order not to miss a key event, an opportunity to "say no" to a bill that, Gandolfini says, "must be stopped." "The family cannot be the last institute and neglected, because it actually holds together the Italian society. And yet, in our country, one million 420 thousand families live below the poverty line." As for the rights to civil unions, Italy—according to the spokesman of the Family Day—is not lagging behind in Europe, but rather it is "a beacon" and a "trailblazer because it upholds civilization and the respect of the child who wants to live with a father and a mother." On the stage, where the banner "Scrapping the family is prohibited" flies, members of the "Comitato difendiamo i nostri figli" take turns speaking. "Today you have changed this country‘s history. Never before has such a spontaneous crowd in a square—says Mario Adinolfi, director of "La Croce"—been seen with us, who are poor, barehanded, with nothing to support the organization. A people said to be dispersed and no longer considered relevant has manifested itself through you today. The Palace will listen to you: the only civil rights are those of children, while the bill wants to put a price tag on the uterus of women." Addressing the participants, Marco Invernizzi of the Catholic Alliance warned: "They will tell you that you are anachronistic. Do not believe it: you are the dawn that is being born into a world that is dying, buried under its vices and sins." This was echoed by Emanuele Di Leo, president of the Steadfast Foundation, who asked: "Are we backward because we do not want to exploit women or buy and sell children? That‘s good. At the end of the 19th century, homosexuality was decriminalized in Italy, a century earlier that was done in England, Germany and Sweden. We are not retrograde, and we are here to say " Italy, stand up!" The president of Jurists for life, Gianfranco Amato, said that "some concepts are neither right nor left, nor lay or religious: they are concepts based on nature, and we will stand up to defend them." "Too many children born from a test tube or grown in the uterus of an unknown mother do not know over which grave to mourn their parents," emphasized Toni Brandi, president of the non-profit organization Pro Vita, while Marco and Irene Griffini (Associazione amici dei bambini) recalled the abandoned children in the world. "There are 168 million abandoned children in the world crying out: I want a dad, I want a mom, I want to be a child," said the couple, stressing the importance of "good practices" such as adoption and foster care, within families based on marriage between a man and a woman. The writer Constance Miriano emphasized that "laws that hurt the family, wound humanity" and that "as Christians, we have the duty to stand up, not with anger but as risen," while the former president of the Forum of Associations family and adviser to the National Forum, Simone Pillon, remarked that "the alternative to the family is loneliness. 75% of people in Sweden live alone: Italy is not backward; Italy is ahead." Finally, the American feminist Jennifer Lahl focused her speech on surrogacy, "the exploitation of women, which makes them slaves and treats them as producers of children for a fee." In California, currently "the world capital of reproductive tourism," said Lahl, there are two women who are each carrying three children for "clients:" "Both are being asked to end the pregnancy of one of the children, because it is not wanted. The mothers are under pressure to kill the child simply because the commissioning parents who want two and not three."