A clear sky and an remarkably mild winter weather welcomed yesterday the people of the Family Day, the largest event organized by the Committee “Let us defend our children” to protest peacefully against the Cirinnà bill, which is currently discussed at the Senate. Essentially, the text of the law creates a new institution for same-sex couples, equating homosexual unions to marriage by introducing them directly into the civil code. Besides, the bill extends “stepchild adoption” to the so-called civil unions, that is to say, the adoption of the child living with a same-sex couple who is the biological child of one of the two partners, favoring indirectly the practice of surrogate motherhood.
There are numerous speeches planned at the Circus Maximus in Rome. The square has become the unknowing star of a merry event with no “enemies” to attack, colored by thousands of pink and blue balloons. At 12 a.m. – Two and a half hours before the official opening of the event – Circus Maximus (which can host about 300 thousand people) was already full of people: families with children, but also grandparents, singles and groups of young people who expressed their support to the natural family and their opposition to the bill (which they renamed “NO-Ciri” for the occasion) with banners and flags. After all they were welcomed by a stage with a blue banner that read “Family Day. In defense of the family and of the children.”
At 12.30 the Roman neurosourgeon Massimo Gandolfini, spokesman of the organizing committee, went to the Interior Ministry to meet Interior Minister Angelino Alfano and the new Minister for Regional Affairs Enrico Costa who is delegated to the Family. At the same time, Lorenzo Guerini was appointed Assistant Secretary by the Democratic Party to dictate Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s line. He said: “We listen to the squares and listen to the motivations pronounced today, but there is no way back for the law on the civil unions”.
At 12.45 the deputy of Popular Area, former Pidiessina Paola Binetti said: “Circus Maximus is already full: there are still two hours to the beginning and half a million participants are already certain.” The Roman psychiatrist is convinced that the government is doubtful about the fact that there may be a way back for the Cirinnà bill and for the question of adoption. Above all, she insistently asks again for measures to support the family. “AP is going to urgently ask the scheduling of the Family Act, which was presented in July last year.” At 2 p.m., the organizers announce that there are ‘‘one million’’ participants.
2.30 p.m. Family Day begins. On stage, the organizer opens with a note of jubilation for the large turnout: “You are more than we expected – he ensured -. Seven months have passed since June 20, and our number has increased.” “In the tradition of the Jewish culture, when an event is repeated three times, it becomes a habit” – he added – expressing the hope that the demonstration in defense of the family is going to become a regular event. After having expressed gratitude to the Veneto, Liguria and Lombardy regions for the presence of the Banner, the Neocatechumenal doctor made a kind of appeal to the regions. “The family cannot be the last and most neglected institution, whereas it holds Italian society together.” From the stage, he reiterated that the Cirinnà bill “needs to be stopped. Thinking that some of the parts of this law may be restructured is wrong.”
According to the spokesman of the Family Day, as to the rights of the civil unions, Italy is not lagging behind Europe, as many people claim, but “a lighthouse” and a “trailblazer in safeguarding civilization and respect for children, which means living with a father and a mother.” “A law on civil unions – Gandolfini has concluded – should simply copy and paste of already existent civil rights. We hope that Prime Minister Renzi is going to take this manifestation into consideration. Everyone should do it.”
2,45 p.m. other members of “Let us defend our children” hold speeches. The first one was Mario Adinolfi who thanked those present, “we have never seen so many people before.” Then followed an attack on the Prime Minister, asking him to reconsider his decision: “Renzi, as everyone remembers: in 2007 he protested in this square with us – Adinolfi said -. The Cirinnà bill wants to stick a price tag next to the names of our children.” Whereas Gianfranco Amato, president of Jurists for Life, has pointed out the question of surrogate motherhood: “We are here to prove what is obvious, that is, that we cannot commodify a woman’s body.” Harsh criticism arrives also from Toni Grandi, president of Pro Life Onlus who spoke about “surrogate motherhood that pays tens of billions of dollars.”
At 3 p.m. Gandolfini interrupts the speeches to provide new data on the attendance at Circus Maximus. “There are two million people” – says the promoter, thanking the participants who came from all over Italy. Then, other members of the Committee ‘‘Let us defend our children’’ talked: there were Giuseppe D’Amico, ‘‘Do not touch the Family’’ association, Emauele Di Leo, Nicola Di Matteo, Paolo Floris and Maria Costanza Miriano who talked about a safe bet and called on politics to listen to the people’s demands not to “touch the family,” but to defend it.
Shortly after, at 3.30 p.m., they showed a video which denounced slavery to which women are subjected due to the illegal practice of surrogate motherhood. Then Jennifer Lall, President of the bioethical and cultural American center, denouncing California for practicing surrogate motherhood and the fact that there are no reliable data concerning this practice. “Surrogacy treats children as products to be sold or bought, and be disposed of when no longer needed,” says the activist.
At 4.15 p.m., at the end of the event, Gandolfini appears on the stage again and points his finger at the bill: “This is a destructive law – he warns -; we must be very careful. The fallout will be cultural and it will strike our children. Kennel regulation – he explains – prohibits to separate puppies from their mother before their 60th day of life; whereas as far as women’s uteruses are concerned, it can be done, according to the Cirinnà bill…”. Also the attempt to equate the natural family with other types of unions was criticized. Above all, adoption disguised as foster care was defined as “unacceptable”: “It questions the very truth of man and that of his nature”.
At 4.30 p.m., the event Osservatore Romano described as a “broad and cross-participation, the expression of all the souls of Italian society” came to an end. Gandolfini lashes again against those who would like to “scrap” the traditional family: “This square is the only civil and honest way for us, people who have no powerful lobbies to show what is the common feeling.” “Man and woman form marriage, everything else is alchemy” the doctor remarked at the end of the event.
Not only Catholics, but also many lay people and members of other religions supported this event. At 4.40 p.m. arrived the Chief Rabbi of the Jewish Community of Rome, Riccardo Di Segni, who has sent a letter to the Family Day, stressing that he was not present only because the event coincided with the Sabbath. “We cannot exploit children for the sake of new ideologies. Pope Francis says that children are not experimental animals,” – the Rabbi remarked.
The Family Day united different people in defense of the family, the way it is backed also by the Italian constitution. Yet, the event – even after the inevitable war of numbers that will rage these hours on the actual number of participants – should not stop here, as if we had reached a milestone. The Family Day should become the first step towards a widely shared awareness that destroying the family, the main core of our society, means destroying humanity itself.