Home » Gpa, sentence on the electoral manifesto of the Brothers of Italy: it will have to compensate a couple of dads

Gpa, sentence on the electoral manifesto of the Brothers of Italy: it will have to compensate a couple of dads

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Gpa, sentence on the electoral manifesto of the Brothers of Italy: it will have to compensate a couple of dads

“An undue interference in the personal sphere”: thus the first civil section of the Court of Rome, signed by the judge Cecilia Pratesi, sentenced Fratelli d’Italia to compensate a homoparental family and to reimburse the costs of the proceedings for the use of their photo together with their newborn son thanks to gestation for others (gpa). An issue still at the center of a bill by FdI, being examined by the Chamber, to make gestation for other crimes universal. After a process that lasted 7 years, Frank e Rosario BJ Barone they have finally obtained justice “for the damage caused to them”.

The story dates back to 2016 when the premier’s party Giorgia Meloni had realised a violent campaign against civil unions, raging in particular against the gpa. For this purpose, the Brothers of Italy had used an image that depicted the Canadian couple with the newborn baby Milo: “He will never be able to say mum”, read the electoral manifesto. And again: «The rights to be defended are those of the child».

The copyrighted image was posted on the photographer’s professional account a few days later Lindsay Foster who had created it, accompanied by a note that underlined the relationship of deep love and respect between the fathers and the pregnant woman. About two years later, however, Fratelli d’Italia used the image without asking for any permission nor to the author – holder of the related rights – nor to the subjects portrayed (including, it should be remembered, there is also a minor).

Michele Giarratano, lawyer, founded the Gay Lex association together with Cathy La Torre

The campaign, which has gone viral, has reached Canada under the eyes of the couple protagonist of the shot, who have decided to contact lawyers Michael Giarratano e Cathy LaTower by Gay Lex for the protection of their rights. La Torre and Giarratano (assisted by their colleague Stefania Gervasi) have decided to deal with the matter “pro bono”, that is, completely free of charge, without receiving any compensation. The out-of-pocket expenses of the proceedings, on the other hand, were borne by Gay Lex, a network of lawyers that offers advice and support to defend the rights of lgbtq+ people, through the campaign «Make the right cause», therefore through spontaneous donations to the association.

According to the court of the Capital, “the image is particularly intimate and portrays a newborn, unrecognizable but potentially identifiable as the son of the two portrayed”. Frank and Rosario BJ Barone, according to Judge Pratesi, «were therefore recipients of a unlawful intrusion into one’s personal spherewhich has violated their right to the protection of their image and confidentiality, exposing – without their consent – ​​to public viewing a moment of family intimacy accompanied by the formulation of a negative opinion».

According to the Court of Rome, Fratelli d’Italia should be sentenced to compensate the couple for «the inconvenience caused by the dissemination of an image revealing their intimacy, the publicly expressed disapproval with regard to their lifestyle and their family condition, the fear of being the object of unwanted attention if they went to Italy”.

“They used a love photo to hate”: the couple of dads who won the case against Fratelli d’Italia speak


Cathy La Torre, why does this win set a precedent?
«In 2016, together with Michele Giarratano, I founded Gay Lex. For us, as lawyers, it was obviously important to sanction the Brothers of Italy for the concrete case and compensate the victims but, as activists, we wanted to give a strong signal so that such episodes should never happen again. In Italy it often happens that the jurisprudence is more innovative than the Italian legislator. This sentence is not addressed only to the prime minister’s party but to anyone in the world of politics who thinks he can use the lives of others by trampling on their dignity”.

It is surprising that such a joyful image, which portrays the instant of the birth of a child, can become such a harmful weapon.
«The photograph in question had been deliberately taken as part of a media campaign for a project in support of “surrogacy”: a widespread and legal practice in the North American country. It wasn’t a toxic image but it became one thanks to the indecent slogan of Fratelli d’Italia. A slogan and a message that objectify aware minors and women, presenting a reality, a distorted version of a process of love and solidarity. The problem is that the debate is very confused and deliberately because of politics: people do not understand the difference between gestation for others and medically assisted procreation, they do not know whether or not gestation for others is under discussion in our country, they confuse systems of procreation and the theme of same-sex parenting, throwing everything together in the same cauldron».

Gestation for others has become the new stone to be thrown against the lgbtq+ community. What strategy for a counter-narrative more adherent to people’s real experiences?
«In the meantime, it should be remembered that this debate concerns only 5,000 families in Italy: many are those who go abroad to resort to gestation for others, and in 90% of cases they are heterosexual couples, returning from very painful journeys. And then it would be enough to give a voice to those who made that journey. In particular to women who have chosen to carry on a pregnancy for others allowing them to self-determination and without pretending to decide for their lives and their bodies. Family is not a set of people linked by genetic bonds, but a place where we take care of each other. The Famiglie Arcobaleno association says that “it is love that creates a family”. That’s right, but that’s not enough: a family also needs protection. And the protections must come from the State, while instead this Government pushes to remove them, deciding which families and children are deserving of protection, and which are not. It’s something aberrant.”

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