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Professor Beck Wins Italian Citizenship for Her Daughter

October 08, 2018

  • James W. Rogers Professor of Music Eleonora Beck
  • Nora Beck, her wife, and children in Bologna last summer.

After four years and four courts—including the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation—love wins! Eleonora Beck, the James W. Rogers Professor of Music, is celebrating a great victory for her family and for civil rights everywhere.

Nora has dual citizenship in the U.S. and Italy. She and her wife live here in Portland with their two children. In 2013, Nora’s family traveled to Italy for her sabbatical so that she could do research on her book Boccaccio and the Invention of Musical Narrative (soon to be published). However, Italy does not recognize same-sex marriage or adoption. Because Nora is not her daughter’s biological mother, the Italian government did not recognize her as Nora’s child and thus would not grant her daughter citizenship. Nora hired a lawyer to argue for her daughter’s right to stay in Italy, and the case went all the way up to the Italian Supreme Court.

“I am so happy for my daughter, Sophie, who will now have the same rights as my son, Alex,” Nora said. In its written decision, the appellate court ruled that even though Italy does not recognize same-sex adoptions, as a member of the international community it must still recognize the official United States adoption.

The fight for equal rights is a long one, and our case is one of many that our lawyer says put another brick in the wall for building justice,” says Nora. “Our case will help other Italians who have given birth to children outside of the country and wish to have the same rights in Italy. We have learned many things in this journey: take chances and do the right thing, and know that it takes time; defeats along the way are often painful and belittling; and when fighting for inclusion and equality, you will be on the right side of history.”

Read Nora’s full story (Italian appeals court upholds validity of US adoption by lesbian couple) in The Local.