Tuesday, 16 June 2009

MaltaStar: Two thirds - MEPs and the gay lobby

16 June 2009 by Sandro Mangion

Out of the 5+1 elected Maltese MEPs, only Labour's John Attard-Montalto and PN's David Casa had opted not to sign a ten-point pledge presented to all European Parliament election candidates by the European gay lobby in the run up of the recent European election.

The rest, who endorsed the document, have wittingly and publicly bound themselves as MEPs topromote equality and combat discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

Towards a greater support for human rights in the European Parliament (picture from www.lgf.org.uk)

Casa's failure to make the gay lobby's declaration his own is perfectly in sync with the man's electoral slogan of "Kontinwità ". It reflects the Nationalist MEPs' disappointing voting patterns throughout the last European Parliament legislature, which showed a clear lack of commitment towards a non-discriminatory society. What his decision not to sign sharply contrasts with, however, is his frequent appearances in gay clubs in Brussels, where he goes to take part in "activities of a political nature". He had told the Press that he always accepts invitations from anti-discrimination organisations.

Check out comments Casa had given to It-Torca on his attendance in gay clubs: http://www.it-torca.com/news.asp?newsitemid=6225

The Brussels gay clubs must be quite disappointed with Casa's decision not to endorse the pledge, after he had responded so positively to their several invitations over the past EP legislature.

The reasons for John Attard-Montalto's failure to sign the pledge elude me. Could it be that his political shrewdness made him consider it more effective, votewise, to focus his energy and time on bigger chunks of the electorate rather than on a smaller, mostly invisible, minority? Could it be that his tight campaign schedule left him no time to do it? Maybe it was simply the case that he clicked his mouse on the wrong place when he came to send his endorsement to the gay lobby.

Anyway, well done to those MEPs who have given their word to work hard towards a more just society, including Simon Busuttil, Yes, he is on the list as well. I just hope his signing is a genuine case of "Il-passat mhux garanzija tal-futur".

I'm also keeping my fingers crossed that, despite their failure to back the pre-electoral pledge, our other two representatives in the only democratically-elected forum within the EU will in the coming five years also keep in mind that every European citizen deserves to be treated equally.

In the meantime, my appeal to the Malta Gay Right Movement is to kick off a continuing monitoring exercise to ensure that those MEPs who have signed the pledge - and who, one must assume, got gay votes in return - live up to what they have vowed.

The exhaustive list of all Maltese EP election candidates who had signed the pre-electoral ten-point pledge: http://www.ilga-europe.org/europe/campaigns_projects/ep2009/map/malta

In so doing, they have refused to take a black on white commitment towards a non-discriminating Europe.

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