Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Political class needs to catch up with society on gay rights - AD

Political class needs to catch up with society on gay rights - AD

February 19th, 2008

At press conference in the AD offices Dr Harry Vassallo said that his party had always insisted that the recognition of gay rights was a sign of tolerance and civilization which Maltese society has achieved ahead of its political class.

Dr Vassallo was talking during a meeting with the representatives of the Malta Gay Rights Movement who presented a petition signed by 1063 people asking for the enactment of specific proposals in favour of the minorities they represent.

Miss Gabi Calleja explained that the petitioners were in favour of the formal recognition of the rights of same sex couples; for the inclusion of a Criminal Code provision against violence motivated by homophobia and transphobia and for a strategy addressing similarly motivated bullying in schools.

The MGRM is asking for legal protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in the provision of goods and services as well as for the extension of the remit of the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality to include sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression issues. The MGRM petition also calls for transgender surgery and therapy to be included in public health services.

Dr Vassallo said Alternattiva Demokratika supports the MGRM request.

Dr. Ing. Patrick Attard, a gay candidate contesting the election with AD emphasized the importance of the pink euro especially for a country so highly dependant on tourism. “Gay couples fall under the category of Double Income No Kids and have a different spending pattern investing more heavily in travel,” Dr Attard said. He added that this existing niche should not be neglected especially with regard to off peak tourism.

Dr. Attard stressed the importance of social tolerance for the economic success of any society. “Studies clearly show that Talent, Technology and Tolerance are very important for economic success. A gay tolerant society is also tolerant of other minorities and becomes attractive to persons of different beliefs and ways of life bringing with them a wealth of talents and skills and creating business opportunities which did not exist before.”

Dr Vassallo said that Alternattiva Demokratika is in favour of the civil partnership that was to be introduced into Maltese law on the strength of the PN promise for the introduction of a law on cohabitation in 1998. “If such a law had been passed hundreds if not thousands of separated persons, and gay couples would have been spared the personal difficulties they have faced so far,” Dr Vassallo said.

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