Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Times: Choice of partner or country

Saturday, 12th June 2010 by Gabi Calleja, coordinator, Malta Gay Rights Movement, Mosta

In his opinion piece published on June 9, Simon Busuttil, MEP states: "We, therefore, need to dismantle the remaining barriers, invisible walls and curtains that citizens still face when they move around Europe." He goes on to say that through the Stockholm Programme "of course, citizens' freedom of movement throughout Europe will be bolstered and all remaining obstacles will be dismantled".

This statement is somewhat ironic when one considers that Maltese citizens find that they are forced to leave their own country since their same-sex relationships with third country nationals are not recognised by the state, not even for the purposes of free movement. This means that, once the maximum four-year term visa extension is exhausted, they are forced to choose between ending their relationship or moving to a country that respects heterosexual and homosexual relationships equally and does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

So, while other EU countries such as Spain, Belgium, the Netherands, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, the UK and Portugal, among others, ensure that lesbian and gay Maltese citizens can feel at home there, Malta continues to fail its lesbian and gay citizens, essentially outlawing them from living in their own country.

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

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