Hundreds took to the streets of Milan on Saturday to protest against moves by Italy's new right-wing government to restrict the rights of same-sex parents.
The demonstration, called "Hands Off Our Sons and Daughters," took place in the historical Piazza della Scala pedestrian square and was organized by LGBTQ+ groups across the country.
"You explain to my son that I am not his mother," read one protest sign. Others held up ballpoint pens, used to sign birth registrations, in protest.
Also present at the protests was Milan's mayor Giuseppe Sala, who had earlier tweeted his support of same-sex families.
Organizers estimated around 10,000 people took part while Milan city officials gave more modest estimates of hundreds.
In 2016 Italy became the last country in Europe to legalize same-sex unions but it still does not recognize "stepchildren adoption" or surrogacy, which rights groups say is because of opposition from the Catholic Church.
Same-sex parents who wish to register their children born by surrogacy abroad have often had to just put one parental name on official birth registrations or take their cases to family court.
Several cities, including the capital Rome and Milan, had instituted a Parent 1/Parent 2 policy on birth registrations rather than the traditional mother/father designations, but last week the Interior Ministry ordered the city of Milan to stop the practice.
The Italian Interior Ministry said it would order other cities' birth registrars to also halt the practice.
Last week, the Italian senate voted against a measure introduced by the European Commission to make the recognition of same-sex parents mandatory.