Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Times: Gay rights activists ask MPs to discuss same-sex marriages

Tuesday, 29th September 2009

Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi receiving a pamphlet from the Malta Gay Rights Movement outside Parliament in Valletta, yesterday. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi.

The Malta Gay Rights Movement believes that the lack of legal recognition for same-sex couples in Malta is discriminatory and denies them full citizenship.

MGRM activists yesterday greeted parliamentarians returning to the House after the summer recess with an appeal to discuss same-sex marriage, also handing out copies of a speech by left-wing Spanish Prime Minister Josè Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

"Matrimony shall have the same requirements and effects regardless of whether the persons involved are of the same or different sex," Mr Zapatero said in his speech. That is now law and same-sex couples can get married in Spain.

MPs, including the Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi and Opposition Leader Joseph Muscat, received the assembled MGRM representatives warmly.

MGRM coordinator Gabi Calleja said of the gesture: "We are taking this action to highlight Spain's lead. We are hoping to raise the issue of same-sex marriage so that more intensive discussion can take place. Also, we are doing this to lay emphasis on the build-up leading to an international conference on the issue".

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) Conference will be held in Malta in November. The conference is expected to attract about 250 LGBT activists from the states affiliated to the Council of Europe.
Asked whether the MGRM sees same-sex marriage as a realistic prospect any time soon, Ms Calleja said: "Currently, the two major political parties are proposing cohabitation rights but this is bare minimum legal recognition and is very limited in the rights it would give to LGBT couples. More is required and this is what we are pushing for".

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]

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