Thursday, 29 January 2009

Times: Minister out of touch with the times
Wednesday, 28th January 2009 by Gabi Calleja, Malta Gay Rights Movement, Mosta

Tonio Borg's intervention in a recent parliamentary session when debating the rent reform highlights the contempt in which the government holds same-sex couples and how far they are from according them the rights and respect they enjoy in a number of EU countries.

Despite discourse reiterated by the Nationalist Party regarding the need to regularise the position and legal status of couples who cohabit, regardless of whether the couples are same-sex or opposite-sex, Dr Borg's remarks left many wondering whether there really is any political will to legislate in this regard. His words and the mocking tone he used seemed particularly intent in belittling the relationships of same-sex couples and showed great insensitivity towards lesbian, gay and bisexual citizens.

Moreover, it clearly manifested that there are two measures being used when it comes to safeguarding the human rights and well-being of opposite-sex and same-sex couples.

By his statements the minister implied that were a partner or child of a same-sex couple to become homeless this was of no particular consequence. The hardship they would undergo was not a matter of concern to the state.

The minister also queried how one could verify the relationship of a cohabiting couple since no marriage certificate could be produced. He seemed to find the idea of registered partnerships for cohabiting couples, gay or straight to be a ridiculous notion, despite this being common practice in many countries. I am certain that to many politicians in Europe it is the minister's attitude that would be considered preposterous and out of sync with the times.

The Malta Gay Rights Movement would like to thank MP Evarist Bartolo for his intervention in defence of same-sex couples and his censure of Minister Borg's attitude towards the rights of sexual minorities.

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