Monday, 11 May 2009

MaltaToday: Four MEP candidates sign gay rights pledge

10.5.9 by James Debono

Four MEP candidates have signed a ten-point election pledge by the International Lesbian-Gay Association of Europe (ILGA) to combat discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

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The candidates are Alternattiva Demorakita candidates Arnold Cassola and Yvonne Ebejer Arqueros, Labour candidate Sharon Ellul Bonici and Alleanza Liberali candidate John Zammit.

They joined 266 MEP candidates from all over Europe who signed the declaration. 
The declaration makes no specific reference to gay marriages or adoptions, but calls on MEPs to support an “inclusive definition of the family” which recognises the diversity of family relationships, and to ensure the needs of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual) families are increasingly reflected in EU policy and in its social legislation, including the parental leave directive.

In a comment on ILGA’s website, AD candidate Arnold Cassola said he would promote policies for stronger families if elected. “Apart from traditional family forms, different forms of cohabitating couples should be protected. This should be done through the recognition of registered partnerships, including formations such as those in cohabitation and separated persons, people tied by family links and same-sex partners”.

Labour candidate Sharon ElIul Bonici said she “always supported equality for gays, trans and intersex people by action and not only words”, and that she would vote for equality and justice if elected.

The candidates also pledged to ensure LGBT people can exercise their right to free movement in the EU with their families and to support measures to increase mutual recognition of partnerships.

The pledge also calls for the explicit recognition of the rights of transgender people in EU law, by their adequate coverage in future gender equality laws and policy. MEPs’ voting records
ILGA also published each MEP’s voting record on seven resolutions dealing with LGBT issues.Labour incumbent Louis Grech had the most gay-friendly record, voting for six out of the seven resolutions.

Nationalist frontrunner Simon Busuttil has the worse track record, having voted against three resolutions or reports, and abstained on four. His colleague David Casa voted against two resolutions, abstained four times and was not present for the vote once. The two MEPs did not vote in favour of any of the resolutions and reports included in the ILGA website.

John Attard Montalto was the only Labour MEP to vote against the Lynne report, on which the two Nationalist MEPs abstained. The report backed a proposal by the European Commission for a new anti-discrimination directive to outlaw discrimination outside employment on access to goods and services on the grounds of disability, age, sexual orientation and religion or belief.All three Labour MEPs were among a small minority of four Socialist MEPs who abstained on the Catania report on the human rights situation in Europe. This included calling on the Commission to ensure that member states apply the principle of mutual recognition for homosexual couples, whether they are married or living in a registered civil partnership.

But Louis Grech and John Attard Montalto voted in favour of the Buitenweg report calling for a law to enforce the principle of equal treatment between persons, irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation. David Casa and Labour MEP Glenn Bedingfield were not present, while Simon Busuttil abstained.

[P. Attard's Note: Regarding the Resolution on Homophobia in Europe of the 26th April 2007, even though Simon Busuttil abstained in the final vote, he signed a petition (25.4.7: Question préalable (article 167) sur l'homophobie) the day before to remove the Resolution from the Parliament's Agenda.]


Related Links:

It-Torċa: Għalfejn ivvota kontra David Casa! - Iwieġeb dwar il-vot tiegħu dwar l-omosesswalità fil-Parlament Ewropew.
It-Torċa: Casa u l-gay clubs fi Brussell
It-Torca: Ittri lil Editur: David Casa u l-gay clubs fi Brussels
Pink News: Maltese Press question MEP over gay club visits
Str8 to the Point: EU Parliament Resolutions; P. Attard asks Dr. Alfred Sant
Intervista mat-Torċa: Mingħand l-Arċisqof bqajt bla risposta... imma xorta nirringrazzjah
EU Parliament: Homophobia in Europe 26.4.2007   [Votes]
EU Parliament: Homophobia in Europe 18.1.2006   [Votes]

International Lesbian & Gay Association's (ILGA) Pledge for the European Elections and  Malta's List of MEP canditates who ENDORSE the pledge.                                        

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