Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Times: Of Presidents and political footballs

Tuesday, 27th January 2009 by Kenneth Zammit Tabona

... [Excerpt from the article]

Legislation is there for all and not only the followers of this religion or that, a fact of life that is beginning to sink in even on this little rock where the letter of the law must conform while its practice is a free for all.

Last week's voting in Brussels on the famous Giusto Catania resolutions was a case in point. Our MEPs voted against removing clauses that safeguarded the rights of gay couples but had to in the end either abstain or vote against the resolution as a whole because of the inclusion of abortion. All these issues like bioethics, euthanasia, divorce, cohabitation, same-sex partnerships and other civil liberties have been swept under the carpet by our legislators for so long with the excuse that, like water, it is expected that society will always somehow find its own level and establish a modus vivendi, which I suppose is a rather cynical view of the situation as long as things are hunky-dory and go as they should.

That is precisely why I found the remarks passed by our Deputy Prime Minister when rebutting the Labour Party (PL) proposals to the rent laws last week so disparaging and offensive. The PL pointed out that, among others, gay couples are to be recognised with regard to the inheritance of leases, something that Tonio Borg, for reasons best known to him, used in a way that was bound to irritate and dismay what he may not realise is a sizeable chunk of the population. The gay community, which today not only includes the gay person him or herself, but also their families and friends, is not to be used as ammunition to fight political battles as it has enough of its own to contend with. Dr Borg's remarks were gratuitous and require an apology.

So when the President-elect [Obama], on Martin Luther King Day, barely 24 hours before his swearing in, vows to uphold the rights of all, including gay and straight, can we really expect a new age to be dawning in which the rights of man will become a reality and not just a cipher for the privileged few?

Comment by C. Attard on timesofmalta.com
Good thing you point out Tonio Borg's remarks, but I'm also not conviced by the PN MEPs vote in favour of the gay rights clauses. After 5 years in which they practically voted down or abstained on every occasion when gay rights were discussed, this smacks of a political gimmick right on the eve of the EP elections, trying to undo all the negative press they got over the issue over the past 5 years. We all remember that Simopn Busuttil was at that meeting with MGRM before the general election, in which the PN promised it would support the new EU anti-discrimination directive. Less that 3 months later the PN MEPs voted against it in the EP and Dalli called the directive 'premature' at a Council meeting. So Casa and Busuttil can vote in whatever way they want now. My vote, and that of countless other gay men and lesbians, will go elsewhere come June.

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