Friday, 31 December 2010

YouTube: Mamma siediti, ti devo dire una cosa...

In un paese in cui la parola "pudore" ormai suona come un errore di battitura in una pubblicità per deodoranti, anche io voglio dire che mi sento fortunato.
Nonostante tutto, infatti, poteva andarmi peggio: potevo essere Berlusconi.

Times: Sir Elton becomes parent to Christmas Day baby

Tuesday, 28th December 2010; PA

Sir Elton John has become a parent to a boy born on Christmas day.

The singer and civil partner David Furnish became parents to the 7lb 15oz baby boy.
The news was first reported by and confirmed by John's Los Angeles-based publicist.

Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John was born in California via a surrogate, whose identity is being protected by the new parents.

Zachary is 62-year-old John's first child with the 48-year-old Furnish. The couple's civil partnership was formalised in 2005.

In a joint statement, the new parents told that "Zachary is healthy and doing well" and they are "overwhelmed with happiness and joy at this very special moment".

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

Selection of interesting comments:

M. Schembri
It was amusing to read most of the comments hereunder. Most are based on nothing more than personal opinions.

Those who really wish to know the facts (and not opinions) should take a look at a study conducted by the Ministry of Justice in Germany. The representative study analysis various aspects of Children development when raised in "rainbow families". ( English translation: )

Worth mentioning from the results is that children raised by same-sex parents are reported to show a higher self-esteem and reach above-average exam results (in school).

Andrea Shields
For the know-it-alls (warning: this stuff may bring a tear to your eyes):

Not the end of the world, see?

What really messes children up is being neglected and/or abused.

Elton John and David Furnish tried all they could to adopt a 14-month-old Ukrainian baby who was born with AIDS but they weren't allowed to do so.
Now, thanks to his straight parents and to whoever denied this adoption, this child will probably spend the first 16 years of his life in an orphanage (should he say thank you?) and then god help him make a life for himself.
If he doesn't make it that far, he'll have spent his very short life in the same orphanage without anyone who'll make him feel like the most important thing in their lives.
So next time you hear about children suffering all kinds of abuse in orphanages, just be thankful that there are gay people who want to take care of other people's children as if they were their own and that they are able to do it so well. Your disastrous macho mentality does not help here, as in anything else.

The biggest drawback which children raised by same-sex parents face is social discrimination from their peers in the form of teasing or abuse. Therefore, one can come to the conclusion that children can grow in a healthy environment ONLY when we adults/parents teach our children the social-values of tolerance and respect towards one another irrespective of their peers origin, race, etc.

Times: Barcelona soon to erect a monument to gays and lesbians
Friday, 31st December 2010; AFP

The Spanish city of Barcelona will erect a monument to gays, lesbians and transgendered people who have been persecuted and repressed “throughout history”, it announced yesterday.

The exact site of the pink, triangular stone monument has not yet been decided, but a spokesman for the city hall said the square outside the Sacred Heart, or Sagrada Familia, basilica “is one location that has been proposed”.

Pope Benedict XVI consecrated the city’s emblematic Antonio Gaudi-designed church last month as hundreds of gays and lesbians staged a mass “kiss-in” to protest the Roman Catholic Church’s stance on homosexuality.

A statement from the city hall yesterday said the monument would be unveiled in February.

It said the inscription will read “In memory of the gays, lesbians and transsexual people who have suffered persecution and repression throughout history. Barcelona 2011.”

Such a tribute has been demanded for some years by Spain’s LGTB gay rights association, the statement said.

Homosexuality was only legalised in Roman Catholic Spain in 1979, shortly after the death of dictator Francisco Franco whose regime shipped off gays to institutions that some activists have likened to concentration camps.

The Socialist government of Prime Minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has sought to promote gay rights as part of a strongly liberal social agenda.

In 2005 it passed a law to allow same-sex marriages, making Spain only the third member of the European Union, after Belgium and the Netherlands, to do so.

Since then, thousands of gay marriages have been performed in the country.

But the measure has drawn the ire of the Roman Catholic Church and a section of the conservative opposition Popular Party.

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

Independent: Living a double life
30.12.2010? by Martina Vella

Mark* looks at me expectantly, ready to share his story. He is very easy to talk to and immediately opens up, albeit it being the first time we have ever met each other. Yet there is a dark shadow persistently hovering in Mark’s life. He hides a secret from his parents that might lead to very upsetting consequences once revealed. “I realised I was different at around age 12 but I had no idea what was going on” he tells me. Naïve about the feelings he was experiencing, the possibility that he might be gay didn’t cross his mind. Nonetheless, the signs were there. At school he stayed with a group of girls and never took part in any typical boy activities such as football.

As he got older he became more aware of his sexuality. He was attracted to boys but at around age 13 he went through a straight phase. He suddenly liked girls but laughingly he adds that “that ended quickly”. He is quick to point out that the straight phase just happened naturally. He didn’t make himself like girls in order to change. By that time in his life he was well aware that he might be gay and nothing could change that. At secondary school things couldn’t get any worse. “It was a horrible, horrible period” he contemplates solemnly. He hadn’t told anybody he was gay but people were quick to tag and bully based on assumption. “I didn’t have a name at one point but I just sat there and took it.” He was a quiet boy with a squeaky voice. A well-mannered student who never caused trouble and was friends with foreigners. He believes that all these factors might have led to the bullying. The fact that it was an all boys’ school and quite a rough environment didn’t help matters. The bullying was so constant, “I was actually having dreams about it at one point” he tells me. Ironically in his class there were two guys who were gay as well but they were not picked on and joined in on the bullying-Mark brigade. “And now we are friends! The world works in funny ways” he laughs.

Through all of this his parents were kept in the dark, oblivious to what was happening to their son. He was not ready to tell them he was gay. Even when, at 17, he started telling his friends, the thought of coming out to his mum and dad seemed highly unlikely. As he became more open with his friends and comfortable being himself, the relationship with his parents became increasingly distant and strained until they had no idea who their son was. Yet he keeps his sexuality a secret from them not because he is ashamed. His fear stems from a situation that happened very close to home and affected him deeply. His older sister is a lesbian. When she came out to her parents, Mark’s hope in opening up to them was sabotaged and crushed to pieces. So angry was his father that for the past year or so he has not spoken to his daughter and completely disowned her. After all the arguments Mark witnessed between his parents and sister, how could he bring himself to tell them he was gay? How could he give them another blow after what they had just been through? “I sat there. I watched. I heard my parents fight over it” he says constantly thinking “Oh Dear Lord why is this happening to my life?” So Mark did not come out to his parents that day or the months that followed. He lives a double life. He lies to his parents constantly, from his whereabouts to the people he hangs out with.

“Sometimes you just need your parents growing up…and I didn’t and that was my own choice,” he says. There was a time when he was closer to his mum but it now seems like a distant memory.” I had to pull back and lie and cover everything,” he tells me regretfully. He admits that he will eventually tell his mum but not his dad as she is more open-minded although “she will still freak out because no one wants a gay kid.”

“In a year so much has happened,” he says, recalling the first time he told his friends he was gay. “I was very close to bursting to tears because the first time you tell someone it’s like a big deal. But once you start you can’t really stop!” he adds, recalling the relief and happiness he felt when his friends accepted him and opened a new chapter in his life. Now he is living the gay scene and loving every minute of it. “I live a very gay life on the weekends and my parents don’t know about my lifestyle but it hasn’t held me back!” he laughingly reassures me. He mainly hangs out with lesbians on nights out as he mischievously tells me that gay guys are “horrible, judgmental people but I’m the special type!” He tells me he is currently dating someone and has been in a few relationships although right now he is just enjoying life and being a teenager just like any other.

I advise him that there is a very big chance of his parents finding out since Malta is so small. He agrees with me completely as he once had a close run in with a relative. “I know what’s going to happen, that’s why I’m more scared to do it” he says, going back to his sister’s predicament. Yet he ends our interview on a positive note saying that through all of this he knows he has his sister’s support when the time comes for him to come out to his parents. “It took me about two or three years to actually tell my sister and I have opened up a lot with her. I am really close to her and we are lucky to have each other,” he says, the love and pride for his sister clearly evident.

With that, the interview ends and I leave hoping that in time, Mark will confide to his parents. Although it will be a rocky road, they will eventually provide him with the love and support he truly deserves.

Although Mark has friends who love and respect him and has a positive outlook on life, he also went through a dark period. He was a victim of bullying and to this day he still hasn’t told his parents about his sexuality since the discrimination against sexual orientation is still persistent. Under pressure to conform to social norms, Mark’s parents were not able to accept that their daughter is a lesbian. How they will react to Mark’s sexual orientation I do not know but I am sure it will not be pleasant. I chose to write this article because there are a lot of people like Mark who need to open up. They desperately want to confide to their parents but are scared to do so because according to society they are not normal. This way of thinking has to stop. The European Commission has created an inspirational campaign called “For Diversity. Against Discrimination.” A campaign that is aimed at showing the beauty of diversity and at breaking down stereotypes still present in such a modern world. People who are gay, old, of a different race or follow a different religion or belief have a right to voice their opinion and this campaign will hopefully make people become aware that the world is beautiful because it is different. Discrimination is evil and it needs to end now.

Martina Vella is a 2nd Year Communications student at the University of Malta. She is currently reading Basic Reporting and Intercultural Communications with Psychology

Independent: Court: Attorney General appeals decree giving transsexual the right to marry
The Attorney General has appealed the Constitutional Court's decree giving a post-op transsexual the right to marry.

In a reply of rebuttal, Joanne Cassar's lawyer insisted with the court that the decision was correct.

The fact that Malta does not recognise transsexuals goes against Article 8 of the European Convention. This had been established by several court judgements including some given by Maltese courts in their Constitutional Jurisdiction.

Ms Cassar insisted the first court had commented that as a result of previous court judgements, amendments in article 257A of the Civil Code had been introduced.

The court had also commented that Article 9 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights had removed the reference to man and woman.

The Attorney General said in his appeal that marriage must take place between a couple with different sexual organs distinguishing them between a man and a woman. Marriage regulations fall under the power and the discretion of the signatory states of the European Convention. This does not oblige any state to recognise marriages that go against the Maltese public order and in Malta marriage should take place between two persons of opposite sexes.

The First Court of the Civil Court, presided over by Mr Justice Joseph R. Micallef, had revoked another court's decision giving its approval for a transsexual person to marry.

The First Hall of the Civil Court had given Joanne Cassar the right to change her sex on both her identity card and birth certificate. They also show her female name. She then applied to marry; however the Public Registry director had refused to issue the marriage banns.

Di-ve: US repeals ban on openly-gay servicemen
22 December 2010;

Openly gay people will now be able to serve in the US military, following the signing of a landmark law by US President Barack Obama.

The signing of the law means that the US will join numerous other countries – Malta included – not to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

Former President Bill Clinton, another member of Obama's Democratic Party, had previously sought to allow all citizens to serve in the military regardless of sexual orientation, but met resistance from the US Congress.

As a compromise, he signed into law Defence Directive 1304.26, which is popularly known as the "don't ask don't tell" policy. As a result of the law, the military would not ask members to reveal their sexual orientation; but members could still be dismissed if they revealed their sexual orientation.

Over 13,000 service members have been dismissed as a result, and President Obama had promised to repeal the law in his presidential campaign.

Opponents had argued that a change in policy could affect troop morale, particularly at a time of war. But a Pentagon report issued earlier this month said that allowing openly-gay troops to serve would have little, if any, impact on US forces fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Subsequently, the outgoing Senate and House of Representatives approved the new law last week, with moderate Republicans joining the vast majority of Democrats, paving the way for President Obama to sign the existing policy's repeal.

"This morning I'm proud to sign a law that will bring an end to 'don't ask, don't tell'," the US President said.

"No longer will tens of thousands of Americans be asked to live a lie in order to serve the country that they love."

Times: Vatican clarifies condom remarks

Wednesday, 22nd December 2010 - 08:20CET

The Catholic church has denied that the Pope had suggested condoms could be used to avoid pregnancy.

The Vatican's moral watchdog, the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, issued a statement saying some commentators had misunderstood and misrepresented the Pope's remarks in a book-length interview released last month entitled "Light of the World."
The Vatican has been under pressure from conservative theologians to issue such a clarification amid widespread confusion about what the Pope meant and whether he was breaking with church teaching.

In the book, he said that condoms were not the real or moral solution to battling HIV and Aids. But he said that condom use in some cases, such as for male prostitutes, could be a first step in a more moral and responsible human sexuality.

The Vatican statement reaffirmed that the church considered prostitution "gravely immoral."

"However, those involved in prostitution who are HIV positive and who seek to diminish the risk of contagion by the use of a condom may be taking the first step in respecting the life of another even if the evil of prostitution remains in all its gravity," the statement said.

It stressed that his logic was "in full conformity with the moral theological tradition of the church."

The Pope's remarks have been mired in confusion ever since they were first published ahead of the official release date in an excerpt in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano on November 20.

The official Italian translation of the original German published in L'Osservatore made two errors that fuelled the confusion: It used the word "justified" in the Pope's analysis and also used the feminine version of 'prostitute' as opposed to the masculine - an important distinction given that condoms in heterosexual intercourse are a form of artificial contraception, which the church opposes.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, added to the confusion when he said at the official book presentation on November 23 that he had spoken to the pontiff and asked if it mattered whether the prostitute in question was male or female. Mr Lombardi said the Pope told him no, and that it did not matter if it was a man, woman or transsexual.

In the statement, the Vatican stuck closely to what the pontiff originally said in the interview and stressed that he was not talking about sex between husband and wife or condom use as a means of contraception.

"The idea that anyone could deduce from the words of Benedict XVI that it is somehow legitimate, in certain situations, to use condoms to avoid an unwanted pregnancy is completely arbitrary and is in no way justified either by his words or in his thought," the statement said.

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

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Times: Gay marriage appeal devoid of compassion
Thursday, 30th December 2010; Patrick Attard, Naxxar

The Attorney General appealed the Constitutional Court's decision which had granted Joanne Cassar, a transsexual, the right to marry earlier this month (Trans-Gender's Right-To-Marry Appeal 'Waste Of People's Money', December 23).

The AG added the most insulting remark, that "same-sex marriages are certainly diametrically opposite to the Maltese public order".

May I ask to which Maltese public order is he referring? I am as Maltese as the AG. Would he perhaps be referring to the public order imposed by Malta's elite, namely the ultra-conservative government and its Do As I Preach Not As I Do partner, the Catholic Church?

What threat does gay marriage pose to the AG? Is it the right to be next to your partner's bed-side when he's very ill in hospital or the right to take emergency medical decisions in case of a serious accident?

I hope that the Attorney General's stone-cold heart received some much-needed compassion this Christmas.

On the other hand, we should commend Ms Cassar's courage, determination and altruism for continuing this battle even though her relationship has ended, in order to pave the way for other transsexuals after her.

I wish all the very best to all the Nationalist Party's ministers, MPs, MEPs, mayors and councillors, who always pledge to be on the forefront of civil rights and are now conspicuous by their silence, even though their fake smiles and empty words once again enchanted the Maltese viewers during Christmas time.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website. You can view more comments here.]

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

YouTube: Dr Joseph Muscat and Gay Partnerships in Malta

Dr Joseph Muscat (PL) iwiegħġeb mistoqsija mill-Kunsillier Nazzjonalista Cyrus Engerer fuq x'jaħseb dwar iż-żwieġ bejn koppji ta' l-istess sess.

Dr Muscat jgħid li hu favur partnership ċivili bejn nies ta' l-istess sess, favur li jkun hemm liġijiet kontra l-omofobja (mibgħeda lejn gays, liżbjani) iżda hu kontra l-adozzjoni ta' tfal.

Il-Program jismu Affari Tagħna u kien ippreżentat minn John Bundy fuq One Television fit-12 ta' Novembru 2010.

Tista' tara l-Programm kollu hawn: mms://­v
[Clip irrekordata: 1:43:01-1:48:15]


Friday, 24 December 2010

An Appeal with No Compassion

24th December 2010 by Dr Inġ. Patrick Attard

The Attorney General appealed the Constitutional Court's Decision which had granted Joanne Cassar, a transsexual, the right to marry earlier this month.

The A.G. added the most insulting remark, that "same sex marriages are certainly diametrically opposite to the Maltese public order”. May I ask to which Maltese Public Order is he referring to? I am as Maltese as the Honorouble A.G. Maybe he is referring to the public order imposed by Malta's elite - namely the Ultra-Conservative Government and their - Do as I preach not as I do - partner, The Catholic Church.

What threat does gay marriage pose, to the A.G.? Is it the right to be next to your partner's bed-side when he's very ill in hospital or the right to take emergency medical decisions in case of a serious accident. I hope that the Honourable Attorney General's stone-cold heart receives some much-needed compassion this Christmas.

On the other hand we should commend Joanne's courage, determination and altruism for continuing this battle even though her relationship has ended, in order to pave the way for other transsexuals after her.

I wish all the Nationalist Party's Ministers, MPs, MEPs mayors and councillors who always pledge to be on the fore-front of civil rights and are now conspicuous by their silence a Merry Christmas, even though their fake smiles and empty words will once again enchant the Maltese viewers during Christmas time.

L-Orizzont: Tkompli l-battalja għat-transesswali: Il-Gvern jerġa' jikkontesta d-deċiżjoni taż-żwieġ
23.12.2010 minn Brian Meli

Il-battalja legali li ilha għaddejja fil-Qrati Maltin għal dawn l-aħħar erba' snin, dwar jekk persuni transesswali ­għan­d­­homx jitħallew jiżże­w­ġu, se tkompli wara li l-Gvern reġa' qed jikkontesta l-aħħar deċ­iżjoni li kien hemm f'dan ir-rigward fil-Qorti fejn kien iddikjarat li dawn għandhom kull dritt li jiżżewġu.

Id-deċiżjoni li jmiss dwar l-appell li sar mill-awtoritajiet permezz tal-Avukat Ġenerali, issa trid tittieħed mill-Qorti Kostituzzjonali li tkun ippre­seduta minn tliet Imħallfin. Għalkemm dan hu l-aħħar pass li jista' jittieħed quddiem il-qrati tagħna, kemm-il darba l-eżitu ta' din id-deċiżjoni ma tkunx favorevoli għall-persuni transesswali, diġà ġie ddikjarat li l-kwistjoni tista' tispiċ­ċa qud­diem il-Qorti Ewropea għad-Drittijiet tal-Bniedem.

Dan ikkonfermah ma' l-orizzont l-Avukat David Camilleri li flimkien mal-Avukat Josè Herrera qed jidher għall-persuna transesswali, Joanne Cassar, li qiegħda tagħmel ­ din il-battalja legali kontra l-awtoritajiet Maltin.

Cassar, li llum għandha 29 sena, xi snin ilu kienet għamlet operazzjoni kirurġika l-Ingilterra magħrufa bħala 'gen­der reassignment' u b'hekk assumiet is-sess femminili b'mod irriver­sib­bli. Wara li bidlet is-sess tagħha minn raġel għal mara, hija kienet fetħet kawża li biha rebħet id-dritt biex kemm fuq il-Karta tal-Identità kif ukoll fuq iċ-ċeritifkat tat-twelid sar it-tibdil neċessarju li jirriffletti l-partikolaritajiet dwar is-sess ġdid tagħha u anke l-isem li ħadet ta' mara. Is-sentenza kienet ingħatat mill-Prim Awla tal-Qorti Ċivili fit-28 ta' Ġunju tal-2006.

Hija mbagħad kienet applikat biex tiżżewweġ lir-raġel li dak iż-żmien kien il-maħbub tagħ­ha, iżda d-Direttur tar-Reġistru Pubbliku rrifjuta li joħroġ it-tnidijiet taż-żwieġ. Ir-raġuni li ngħatat kienet li hija ma tikkwalifikax biex tiżżewweġ min­ħabba li f'dan ir-rigward tibqa' kkonsidrata bħala raġel.

Kif jipprovdi l-Att dwar iż-Żwieġ, Cassar kienet ħadet il-każ quddiem il-Qorti Ċivili – Sezzjoni ta' Ġurisdizzjoni Volon­tarja fejn ikkontestat id-deċiżjoni tad-Direttur tar-Reġistru Pubbliku. B'digriet li ngħata fit-12 ta' Frar 2007, il-Qorti ta' Ġurisdizzjoni Volontarja kienet iddikjarat li ż-żwieġ bejn il-koppja seta' jiġi kkuntrattat għax ma jmurx kontra l-provvedimenti tal-Kaptilu 255 tal-liġijiet ta' Malta u lanqas ma huwa kontra l-ordni pubbliku peress li ż-żwieġ kien se jsir bejn żewġ persuni ta' sess differenti.

Madanakollu d-Direttur tar-Reġistru Pubbliku baqa' jirrifjuta li joħroġ it-tnidijiet taż-żwieġ u fetaħ kawża fejn talab li dan id-digriet jiġi rrevokat. Fil-21 ta' Mejju 2008 it-talba tiegħu kienet ġiet milqugħa mill-Qorti Ċivili fejn din sostniet li t-talba ta' Cassar biex tiżżewweġ persuna tas-sess maskil tmur kontra l-Att tal-1975 dwar iż-Żwieġ.

Dan wassal biex Cassar imbagħad ħadet il-każ quddiem il-Prim'Awla tal-Qorti Ċivili (Sede Kostituzzjonali) fejn għal darba oħra ngħatat raġun, tant li b'din l-aħħar deċiżjoni ġie ddikjarat li l-aġir mill-awtoritajiet fil-konfront tagħha qed jikser il-Konvenzjoni Ewropea għad-Dritti­jiet tal-Bniedem. Fis-sentenza li ngħatat fl-aħħar ta' Novembru li għadda ntqal li minn dak inhar li ċertifikat tat-twelid jinbidel allura l-persuna għandha tiġi kkonsidrata għall-finijiet u effetti kollha tal-liġi bħala tas-sess indikat fl-istess att ta' twelid.

Il-Qorti żeidet tgħid li llum hija ċara u konsistenti l-pożizzjoni li ħadet il-Qorti Ew­ropea fis-sens li persuna li bidlet is-sess tagħha b'mod irriversibbli ma tistax titwaqqaf mill-Istat li tiżżewweġ persuna tas-sess oppost minn dak rikonoxxut mil-liġi.

Minkejja dan, fi tmiem il-ġimgħa li għaddiet reġa' sar appell mill-awtoritajiet fejn fost affarijiet oħrajn baqa' jiġi sostnut li l-Artiklu 257A tal-Kodiċi Ċivili huwa intiż biss biex persuna li tkun kisbet id-dehra ta' persuna tas-sess oppost ma tkunx imbarazzata meta tipproduċi dokumenti uffiċjali li juru xort'oħra. Għalhekk, dan bl-ebda mod ma jfisser li wara l-operazzjoni l-persuna transesswali tkun akkwistat 'gender' ġdid.

Xi ħaġa sorprendenti hija li l-awtoritajiet issa qegħdin iqajmu l-punt dwar il-fatt li Cassar illlum ma għadhiex iżjed f'relaz­z­joni mar-raġel li kienet se tiżżewweġ. Fil-fatt saret insistenza li n-nuqqas ta' prova dwar l-istat attwali tagħha jekk effettivament tinsabx preżentament f'relazzjoni ma' persuna ta' sess maskili, irrendi dawn il-proċeduri ta' natura straordinarja ġew biss proposti sempliċiment bħala eżerċizzju akkademiku.

Għadha qed issir insistenza wkoll li dak li qed issir riferenza għalih bħala "żwieġ" imur kontra l-prinċipju ta' ordni pubbliku assodat fis-sistema legali Maltija fis-sens li żwieġ jsita' jsir biss bejn żewġ persuni ta' sess oppost. L-awtoritajiet isostnu li mill-provi jirriżulta li Cassar hija biss 'phenotypically' mara, jiġifieri għandha biss is-sura esterjuri ta' mara iżda l-organi bħalma hi l-prostata, li hija waħda mid-differenzi bażiċi bejn raġel u mara, għadha pre­żenti fiha u għalhekk taħt il-liġi Maltija taż-żwieġ hija qatt ma tista' tiġi kkunsidrata bħala mara li tista' tikkontratta żwieġ ma' raġel ieħor.

Ikomplu jisħqu li l-Artiklu 12 tal-Konvenzjoni Ewropea ma jistax jiġi interpretat li jagħti 'carte blanche' biex persuna ta' età taż-żwieġ tikkuntratta żwieġ, anke jekk dan imur kontra l-ordni pubbliku tal-Istat, f'liema każ l-Istat huwa ġustifikat li jiċħad talba biex jiġi kkuntrattat tali żwieġ.

B'referenza għall-fatt li l-Qorti Ċivili (Sede Kostituzzjonali) bbażat parti sostanzjali mid-deċiżjoni tagħha fuq id-deċiżjoni tal-Qorti Ewropea fil-każ "Christine Goodwin vs The United Kingdom", l-awtoritajiet qalu li ma jistax jingħad li fid-dritt Malti u fis-sistema ġuridiku u Kostituzzjonali Malti, b'dif­ferenza ta' dak Ingliż, saru xi tibdiliet kbar fl-istituzzjoni taż-żwieġ li jipprospettaw iż-żwieġ anke bejn persuni tal-is­tess sess.

Dan l-argument qed jagħmluh b'rabta mal-insisteza tagħhom li Cassar ħadet biss is-sura esterjuri ta' mara, iżda l-organi interni li jiddistingwu raġel minn mara għadhom preżenti.

Żiedu jgħidu wkoll li r-regolament tal-istituzzjoni taż-żwieġ hija wkoll ħaġa li taqa' fil-poteri u fid-diskrezzjoni tal-Istati firmatarji tal-Konvenzjoni Ewropea, u li l-Konvenzjoni ċertament ma tobbliga lil ebda Stat li jirrikonoxxi żwieġ li jmur kontra l-ordni pubbliku tiegħu.

"Iż-żwieġ f'Malta huwa kuntratt ta' natura 'sui generis' u ta' ordni pubbliku.

Dan il-kuntratt jista' jiġi konkluż biss bejn żewġ persuni ta' sess oppost u dan irid jir­riżulta mill-istruttura kemm esterjuri u kemm an­a­tomika, gonadali u kromosomika opposta.

Kull interpretazzjoni diffe­renti twassal għal żwieġ bejn żewġ persuni tal-istess sess li ċertament hija dijametrikament opposta għall-ordni pub­bliku Malti", temm jgħid ir-rikors kostituzzjonali ppreżentat mill-Avukat Ġenerali.

Fit-tweġiba tagħhom għal din il-kontestazzjoni li reġgħet saret mill-awtoritajiet dwar id-deċiż­i­joni ta' Novembru li għadda, l-avukati ta' Cassar isostnu li r-raġunament tal-Qorti Ċivili (Sede Kostituzzjonali) kien fis-sens li l-fatt li l-Istat Malti ma jirrikonoxxix lit-transesswali bħala persuni tas-sess assunt u ma jipprovdix għall-bdil tad-dokumenti relattivi, dan imur kontra d-dispożizzjonijiet tal-Artiklu 8 tal-Konvenzjoni Ewropea. Dan ġie stabbilit f'diversi sentenzi anke tal-qrati tagħna fil-kompetenza tagħhom kostituzzjonali.

Il-Qorti mbagħad kompliet tik­kummenta fis-sens li kien minħabba f'dawn is-sentenzi li ppronunzjaw ruħhom fis-sens li hemm ksur ta' tali dritt li ġew introdotti l-emendi tal-artiklu 257A tal-Kodiċi Ċivili. Għalhekk ikkonkludiet li wieħed ma jistax jargumenta li dawn l-emendi saru biss għall-fini ta' protezzjoni ta' privatezza. B'ef­fett ta' dawn l-emendi, u wara s-sentenzi inkwistjoni, l-Istat ma setax ħlief jirrikonoxxi wkoll il-bdil fis-sess bil-konsegwenzi legali kollha li dan iġib miegħu.

Dwar il-fatt li l-Qorti bbażat id-deċiżjoni tagħha fuq dik tal-Qorti Ewropea fil-każ "Goodwin vs UK", intqal li għalkemm l-Istat Malti m'għamel xejn biex jawtorizza u jipprovdi t-trattament jew l-operazzjoni ta' 'gender reassignment', iżda b'effett tal-artiklu 257A tal-Kap. 16 irrikonoxxa l-effetti ta' tali operazzjoni.

Għalhekk b'dik is-sentenza diġà għandna dikjarazzjoni li l-Artiklu 8 mhuwiex sodisfatt b'sempliċi provvedimentli tiġi protetta l-privatezza tal-persuna konċernata bi bdil ta' dokumenti però issa l-idea hi li l-Istat m'għadux ġustifikat li jieqaf hemm. Irid ukoll jirrikonoxxi tali persuna bħala persuna tas-sess assunt għall-finijiet u effetti kollha tal-liġi.

Dwar il-punt li tqajjem issa minħabba l-istat attwali tal-klijenta tagħhom, l-avukati ta' Cassar jisħqu li huwa irrelevanti jekk fil-preżent din hijiex f're­lazzjoni, għax il-pożizzjoni tal-Istat għar-rigward l-implikazzjonijiet legali ta' nies transesswali ma nbidlitx.

Huwa evidenti mill-kontestazzjoni tal-awtoritajiet li qegħdin jiċħdu lil persuni transesswali mill-possibilità ta' żwieġ fuq bażi ta' prinċipju u mhux fuq bażi personali skont iċ-ċirkostanzi. Għalhekk l-eżis­tenza jew le ta' relazzjoni hija irrelevanti.

Sostnew li dak li tgħid is-sentenza tal-Qorti Ewropea huwa li hemm bżonn bdil fil-ħsieb tenut kont kemm l-iżviluppi fl-istatut taż-żwieġ kif ukoll tenut kont l-iżviluppi fil-mediċina u x-xjenza għal dak li jirrigwardja t-transesswali.

Huwa fid-dawl ta' dawn il-konsiderazzjonijiet kollha li l-Qorti Ewropea deherilha li kien hemm lok għal żvilupp, u għalhekk huwa irrelevanti jekk l-idea ta' żwieġ hawn Malta inbidilx jew baqax l-istess tul iż-żmien.

Saret referenza wkoll għall-fatt li l-Qorti anke kkummentat li l-Artiklu 9 taċ-Charter tal-Unjoni Ewropea dwar id-Dirttijiet tal-Bniedem tiddepartixxi, bi skop, mid-diċitura tal-artiklu 12 tal-Konvenzjoni fis-sens li tneħħi r-referenza għal "raġel" u "mara".

L-Oppozizzjoni ddizappuntata

Min-naħa tagħha, l-Op­po­żiz­zjoni esprimiet diżap­punt għall-kotestazzjoni li għadha qed issir mill-awtoritajiet fejn jidħlu drittijiet ta' persuni transesswali, u saħqet li dan juri kemm hemm bżonn li l-Parlament jgħaddi liġi li titratta dawn it-tip ta' sitwazzjonijiet mingħajr aktar preġudizzji u diskriminazzjoni.

Dan kien iddikjarat fi stqarrija li nħarġet mill-Kelliemi Laburista għad-Djalogu Soċjali u Drittijiet ta' Minoranzi, Gino Cauchi, li spjega li tali liġi għand­ha tkun ċara u li tevita kull ta' miżinterpretazzjoni mill-persuni li jokkupaw karigi, liema karigi jimpinġu fuq drittijiet ċivili li l-Istat għandu jiggarantixxi għal kull ċittadin Malti u Għawdxi.

Huwa qal li d-deċiżjoni tal-Qorti li tat id-dritt lill-persuni transesswali li jiżżewġu hija konformi mal-liġijiet Ewropej u ma' diversi deċiżjonijiet li ttieħdu mill-Qorti Ewropea fejn jidħlu d-drittijiet tal-bniedem. Saħaq li għaldaqstant, ma jistax ikun li f'dan il-pajjiż nibqgħu mexjin b'sistema li fejn ikun jaqbel lill-awtoritajiet jipprevalu l-liġijiet Ewropej, iżda meta jkun hemm individwi li jitolbu rimedju għal drittijiet li jkunu qed jiġu mċaħħdin lilhom mill-Istat, il-liġijiet Ewropej jitwarrbu fil-ġenb. Il-Kelliemi tal-Oppożizzjoni żied jirrimarka li wieħed jispera li l-appell li sar mill-Avukat Ġenerali f'isem l-Istat mhux riżultat ta' pressjoni minn forzi konservattivi, li qegħdin jopponu li jingħataw drittijiet kif jiġri f'pajjiżi oħrajn Ewropej minħabba l-ideat personali tagħhom.

L-AD: pajjizna qisu l-"presepju tal-Ewropa"

Diżappunt simili esprimietu wkoll l-Alternattiva Demokratika li filwaqt li sejħet id-deċiżjoni tal-awtoritajiet bħala waħda insensittiva u tal-mistħija, saħqet li Gvern demokratiku u responsabbli għandu dejjem jipproteġi d-drittijiet ċivili mingħajr ma jeskludi lill-ebda minoranza.

Iċ-Ċerpersin tal-AD, Michael Briguglio, qal li l-Qorti Ċivili (Sede Kostituzzjonali) ġustament ibbażat id-deċiżjoni tagħ­ha fuq iċ-Charter tal-UE dwar id-drittijiet tal-bniedem.

Żied jirrimarka li dan juri li, għal darb'oħra, qiegħda terfa' rasha l-ideoloġija konfessjonali im­ħaddna mill-istituzzjonijiet tal-Istat u dan juri l-ħtieġa għal aktar solidarjetà mal-moviment LGBT biex pajjiża ma jibqax qisu l-"presepju tal-Ewropa".

Times: Transgender's right-to-marry appeal 'waste of people's money'
Thursday, 23rd December 2010 by Juan Ameen

The Attorney General's appeal against a judgment allowing people who changed their sex to marry "is a waste of people's money", the gender-reassigned woman behind the landmark legal battle said.

"This is a waste of people's money, of my money, and it is making a mockery of the country and its courts," 29-year-old Joanne Cassar said.

The appeal, filed by the Attorney General and the Marriage Registrar on Friday, asked the Constitutional Court to revoke Ms Cassar's right to marry after a judge ruled in November her gender reassignment surgery should not prejudice her right to have a husband.

The Attorney General argued the court, presided over by Mr Justice Raymond Pace, "completely discarded" the fact that a particular European Convention did not guarantee the right to a family but presumed the presence of a family.

Ms Cassar only changed superficially as she also had male organs, such as the prostate, the Attorney General argued. As a result, under Maltese marriage laws, Ms Cassar could never be considered a woman who could enter into a marriage contract with a man, he added.

However, Ms Cassar said she "expected" the appeal and yesterday filed a reply to it. "I knew it was going to happen. My family and friends threw a party for me when I won the case but I didn't enjoy it to the full."

Hurt but determined, she said she would continue fighting for her rights but the move still dealt a blow to her morale. "I felt my whole world collapse and I spent the whole day crying."

She was also hurt by comments posted by readers on "Stop hurting me, my family and my loved ones. They don't know what they are doing to us."

Her lawyers, Josè Herrera and David Camilleri, lifted her spirits, stressing the November judgment was "fair" and deserved to be confirmed.

"It's my right and it's mine alone and no one would take it away from me," she said.

The case goes back to 2006 when the Marriage Registrar refused an application by Ms Cassar and her partner for wedding banns to be issued even though she had changed her gender to female on her birth certificate.

In February 2007, she won a civil case in which the court ordered the Marriage Registrar to issue the banns. However, in May 2008, the decision was revoked on appeal. The court ruled Ms Cassar could never be considered to be a woman according to the Marriage Act and declared that the change in her birth certificate was only intended to protect the right to privacy and to avoid embarrassment.

Then, in November, she won a human rights case before the First Hall of the Civil Court in its constitutional jurisdiction.

The Attorney General argued a marriage contract could only take place between two people of the opposite sex who had an opposing anatomical, chromosomal and reproductive system. "Any different interpretation will lead to marriage between two people of the same sex, which is certainly diametrically opposite to the Maltese public order," he said.

The Labour Party and Alternattiva Demokratika yesterday supported Ms Cassar's stand and condemned the decision to appeal.

"I thank them and I'm satisfied they are backing me," Ms Cassar said of the political support.

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

Di-ve: Decision granting right to marry after gender reassignment appealed
22 December 2010 -- 12:35CEST

A Court decision confirming that a woman who was born male was free to marry was appealed by the Attorney General, leading to criticism by her lawyers and by political parties.
Joanne Cassar was born a male, but underwent gender reassignment in 2005 and was legally recognised as female in 2006. Despite this legal recognition, the Marriage Registrar refused to issue the marriage banns when she sought to marry her boyfriend of several years, insisting that she was still male.

Ms Cassar took him to Court, and he was ordered to issue the marriage banns, but an application to have the order revoked was successful.

This led the 29-year-old woman to file a constitutional application, stating that by denying her the right to marry, the Maltese Courts went against Article 12 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which states that "men and women of marriageable age have the right to marry and found a family, according to the national laws governing the exercise of this right."

In earlier decisions, the European Court of Human Rights had ruled that states were free to prohibit people who underwent gender reassignment to marry persons of now-opposite sex, but this was overturned in 2002 in a case brought by British national Christine Goodwin against her country's government.

This ruling was recognised by Mr Justice Joseph Micallef, who ruled that Ms Cassar was being unlawfully denied the right to marry. However, this decision is now being appealed by Attorney General Peter Grech.

In his appeal, Dr Grech argued that the Convention did not oblige the state to recognise marriages which went against the public order, and that in Malta's case, this was a marriage between 2 persons of opposite sex. He insisted that Ms Cassar could not be considered to be a woman for this purpose.

Ms Cassar's lawyers, David Camilleri and José Herrera, replied to the appeal, insisting that Mr Justice Micallef's ruling was a correct interpretation of the Convention, citing the Goodwin case to back their argument.

The appeal was also criticised by the Labour Party and Alternattiva Demokratika. Labour's

minority rights spokesman, Gino Cauchi, expressed his disappointment at the decision to appeal, stating that it was unacceptable for the authorities to consider European laws only when it suited them, expressing hope that the decision was not made because of pressure from conservative elements of society.

AD chairman Michael Briguglio, meanwhile, lamented that "once again, the confessional ideology of state institutions is rearing its ugly head," and called for more solidarity with the LGBT movement in Malta.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

PL: Il-PL dizzapuntat ghal appell mid-decizjoni fil-kaz ta’ Joanne Cassar

Media Release; 22 ta' Dicembru 2010

Stqarrija mahruga minn Gino Cauchi, Kelliemi Laburista ghad Djalogu Socjali u Drittijiet ta' Minoranzi.

Il-Partit Laburista jesprimi dizzapunt ghad-decizjoni tal-Avukat Generali u d-Direttur tar-Registru Pubbliku li jappellaw mis-sentenza li nghatat fil-Qorti mill-Imhallef Ray Pace ftit tal-gimghat ilu, fil-kaz li ressqet kontriehom Joanne Cassar.

Dakinhar l-Imhallef Pace gustament iddecieda li persuna li tkun bidlet is-sess taghha u li tali bidla tkun giet rikonoxxuta mill-istat, tant li d-dokumenti ufficjali taghha nbidlu, ghandu jkollha d-drittijiet civili kollha bhal m'ghandhom persuni ta' dak is-sess.

Din id-decizjoni hija konformi wkoll mal-ligijiet Ewropej ghad-drittijiet tal-Bniedem u konformi ma' diversi decizjonijiet li ttiehdu mill-Qorti Ewropea ghad-Drittijiet tal-Bniedem.

Ma jistax ikun li f'dan il-pajjiz nibqghu mexjin b'sistema li fejn ikun jaqbel lill- Awtoritajiet jipprevalu l-ligijiet ewropej, izda meta jkun hemm individwi li jitolbu rimedju ghal drittijiet li jkunu qed jigu mcahhdin lilhom mill-istat, il-ligijiet ewropej jitwarrbu fil-genb.

Huwa ta' dizzapunt kif l-Avukat Generali f'isem l-istat u d-Direttur tar-Registru Pubbliku, ddecidew li jappellaw mid-decizjoni tal-Imhallef Pace , a-bazi ta' punt legali li huma qed jinterpretaw b'mod filwaqt li l-qorti w esperti legali ohra qed jinterpretaw mod iehor.

Nisperaw li dan l-appell mhux rizultat ta pressjoni minn forzi konservattivi li qed jopponu li jinghataw drittijiet kif jigri f'pajjizi ohra Ewropej minhabba l-ideat personali taghhom.

Dan juri kemm ghandna bzonn li l-Parlament jillegizla ligi, li titratta dawn it-tip ta' sitwazzjonijiet minghajr aktar pregudizzji u diskriminazzjoni. Ligi li tkun cara u li tevità kull tip ta' misinterpretazzjoni mill-persuni li jokkupaw karigi, liema karigi jimpingu fuq drittijiet civili li l-istat ghandu jiggarantixxi ghal kull cittadin Malti u Ghawdxi.

AD: Government's appeal against transgender case: AD expresses solidarity with LGBT movement

Alternattiva Demokratika - The Green Party,
P.O. Box 38, Marsa, MTP1001

Press Release 22/12/10

Alternattiva Demokratika - The Green Party expressed its disappointment with the Attorney General's appeal against the court sentence which had granted Joanne Cassar the right to marry a man after her gender reassignment surgery.

Yvonne Arqueros Ebejer, spokesperson for Civil Rights added: ' It is a shame and most insensitive that the court ruled that Ms Joanne Cassar would never be considered to be a “woman” according to the Marriage Act and declared the change in her birth certificate, allowing a change of name and gender, was only intended to protect the right to privacy and to avoid embarrassment. A democratic and responsible government should always protect civil liberties without excluding any minority. '

Michael Briguglio, AD Chairperson, added: 'The constitutional court had rightly based its judgement on the charter of fundamental rights of the EU. Yet, once again, the confessional ideology of state institutions is rearing its ugly head. This only calls for more solidarity with the LGBT movement in order that Malta would stop acting like the crib of the Europe'.

Times: PL, AD, disagree with appeal in transsexual's right-to-marry case

Lawyers insist consequences of gender re-assignment surgery must be recognised
Wednesday, 22nd December 2010 - 10:36CET

The Labour Party said today that it was disappointed by the decision of the Attorney General and the Marriage Registrar to appeal a decision which had granted a transsexual - Joanne Cassar - the right to marry a man after gender-reassignment surgery.

Spokesman Gino Cauchi said that Mr Justice Ray Pace had rightly decided that a person whose gender reassignment had been recognised by the state and had her official documents changed, should enjoy the civil rights which such a change brought about.

This judgement, the PL said, conformed with European human rights laws and decisions of the European Court of Human Rights.

The PL said it hoped that this appeal was not the result of pressure from conservative forces which were opposing the granting of rights which were granted elsewhere in Europe.

It said the Maltese parliament should legislate to avoid such situations, prejudices and discrimination.


Alternattiva Demokratika also expressed disappointment with the Attorney General's appeal.

" A democratic and responsible government should always protect civil liberties without excluding any minority. ' Michael Briguglio, AD Chairman, said. 'The constitutional court had rightly based its judgement on the charter of fundamental rights of the EU. Yet, once again, the confessional ideology of state institutions is rearing its ugly head. This only calls for more solidarity with the LGBT movement in order that Malta would stop acting like the crib of the Europe'.


Meanwhile the legal counsel of Joanne Cassar this morning replied to the appeal.
Drs David Camilleri and Jose' Herrera insisted that the judgement of the Constitution Court was rightly based on the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union which reflected changes in views on the Institute of Marriage and medical developments and science regarding transsexuals. Therefore, it was irrelevant if ideas about marriage in Malta had changed or had remained the same through the years.

The defence counsel argued that local legislative changes which allowed transsexual people to have their ID card details changed were not made solely to protect their privacy, and the state also had to recognise the legal consequences of such changes.

The Attorney General in his appeal had argued that the European Convention did not guarantee the right for one to have a family, but assumed the existence of a family.

However, the defence team argued, the existence or otherwise of a family was irrelevant. The view of the First Court were based on a European Court judgement in the case Christine Goodwin vs The United Kingdom which declared that:

“Where a State has authorised the treatment and surgery alleviating the condition of a transsexual, financed or assisted in financing the operations and indeed permits the artificial insemination of a woman living with a female-to-male transsexual, it appears illogical to refuse to recognise the legal implications of the result to which the treatment leads.”

In Joanne Cassar's case, the state had not authorised or provided her gender re-assignment treatment, but had recognised the legal effects of the operation. It was therefore illogical for the state to now refuse to recognise the legal implications of that recognition.

Furthermore, in the Goodwin case, the (European) court had also declared that:
“Since there are no significant factors of public interest to weigh against the interest of this individual applicant in obtaining legal recognition of her gender re-assignment, it reaches the conclusion that the fair balance that is inherent in the Convention now tilts decisively in favour of the applicant. There has, accordingly, been a failure to respect her right to private life in breach of Article 8 of the Convention.”

The counsel said it was also irrelevant that Ms Cassar had not proved the existence of a family involving her and another person. Neither was it relevant that Ms Cassar was currently not in a relationship.

On whether a state could control who got married and whether this was an automatic right, the counsel argued that the European Court sentence showed that there was a need for change on views on marriage.

The European Court had declared:

“…that a test of congruent biological factors can no longer be decisive in denying legal recognition to the change of gender of a post-operative transsexual. There are other important factors – the acceptance of the condition of gender identity disorder by the medical professions and health authorities within Contracting States, the provision of treatment including surgery to assimilate the individual as closely as possible to the gender in which they perceive that they properly belong and the assumption by the transsexual of the social role of the assigned gender.”

Therefore, it was irrelevant whether local views on marriage had changed or not.

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

MGRM: Another Parliamentary Question receives unsatisfactory answer
Thu, 11/11/2010 - 11:16 — Yao

Following a recent Parliamentary Question asked by Opposition MP Evarist Bartolo (read about it here), another PQ about freedom of movement of LGBT people was asked in Parliament last week. Again, a dismissive and unsatisfactory reply was received.

MP Bartolo asked how Malta was implementing EU Directive 2004/38/KE with regard to freedom of movement for LGBT couples if the couple was married, in a civil partnership or if the couple was cohabiting but not legally married or in a civil partnership.

The Minister replied that Malta does not limit EU citizens' movement in and out of Malta because of their sexual orientation but did not recognise marriage equality for same-sex couples.

The question therefore remained unanswered.

The full version of the Parliamentary Question is reproduced, in Maltese, below:

Legislatura XI Kategorija ORAL Mistoqsija Numru: 19847 Data: 04/10/2010
Seduta: 267 - 26/10/2010 06:00 PM
Titlu: moviment hieles ta’ persuni fl-Unjoni Ewropea - koppji gay u lezbjani

L-Onorevoli EVARIST BARTOLO staqsa lill-Onorevoli AUSTIN GATT (Ministru ghall-Infrastruttura, Trasport u Komunikazzjoni):

Jista’ l-Ministru jghid kif Malta qieghda timplementa d-Direttiva 2004/38/KE dwar il-moviment hieles ta’ persuni fl-Unjoni Ewropea fir-rigward ta’ koppji gay u lezbjani fil-kazijiet li gejjin:

(a) il-koppja tkun mizzewga;
(b) il-koppja tkun registrata civilment (registered partnership); u
(c) il-koppja tkun tikkoabita imma ma tkunx mizzewga jew registrata civilment?

Jista’ l-Ministru jghid ukoll kemm-il talba kienet sommessa ghall-moviment ta’ dawn il-koppji lejn Malta matul l-2009 u 2010 u jindika kemm-il talba minnhom kienet milqugha/michuda?

Ninsab infurmat li Malta ma timponix limitazzjonijiet fuq il-moviment hieles tal-persuni membri tal-Unjoni Ewropea skont l-orjentazzjoni sesswali taghhom, biss ma tirrikonoxxix zwigijiet bejn persuni ta' l-istess sess.

MaltaStar: PL dissapointed at decision to appeal Joanne Cassar's court sentence

22 December 2010 13:06

The Labour Party expressed it's disappointment at the Auditor General and the Public Registrar's decision to appeal the Joanne Cassar's court sentence granting her the right to marry after a sex change.

In a statement on behalf of the Labour Party, MP Gino Cauchi said the decision to appeal this sentence is insensitive and does not respect human rights.

"On the day the sentence was given out Judge Pace justly decided that a person who has changed their sex and is recognized by the state to be of that sex should be allowed to marry, like people of that said sex" said Gino Cauchi.

"This decision conformed to Europen legislature and European Human rights. What is worrying is that in this country it seems that when the Authorities it will gain from EU law, we implement is as soon as possible- but then when a Maltese's citizen's human rights are being taken for granted we ignore legislature."

The Labour Party hopes the decision hasn't come about due to Conservative lobbying.

Gino Cauchi says "It would be a great shame if this decision was appealed due to conservative lobbying from higher powers, especially if it only boils down to someone's personal opinion."

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

BBC News: Barack Obama signs gay military law

US President Barack Obama: ''I believe this is the right thing to do for our military''

Related stories

US President Barack Obama has signed a landmark law allowing gay people serving in the military to be open about their sexuality.

Mr Obama said the law meant that tens of thousands of Americans would no longer be asked to live a lie.

He had campaigned to change the 1993 "don't ask, don't tell" law, overturned by Congress last week.

More than 13,000 service members have been dismissed under the policy, enacted in 1993 as a compromise.

Opponents argue that the change will damage troop morale at a time of war.

But earlier this month, a Pentagon report said that allowing openly gay troops would have little impact on the cohesion of US forces fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The outgoing Senate and House of Representatives approved the new law last week, with moderate Republicans joining the Democratic majority.


So many activists were expected at the signing ceremony that the White House booked a larger room for the event.

"This is a very good day," Mr Obama said as he introduced the law, surrounded by senior military officials and members of Congress.

Start Quote

No longer will our country be denied the service of thousands of patriotic Americans who were forced to leave the military, regardless of their skills, no matter their bravery or their zeal, no matter their years of exemplary performance because they happen to be gay”

Barack ObamaUS President

"This morning I'm proud to sign a law that will bring an end to 'don't ask, don't tell'.

"No longer will tens of thousands of Americans be asked to live a lie in order to serve the country that they love."

The president said the new law would be good for the armed forces.

"The law that I'm about to sign will strengthen national security and uphold ideals that fighting men and women risk their lives to defend," he said.

"No longer will our country be denied the service of thousands of patriotic Americans who were forced to leave the military, regardless of their skills, no matter their bravery or their zeal, no matter their years of exemplary performance because they happen to be gay."

But correspondents say that the planned celebration parties by gay rights campaigners and members of the military may be premature.

Guidelines need to be finalised on practical questions ranging from how to educate troops to how sexual preference should be handled when army staff are organising sleeping arrangements in military barracks.

Those guidelines need to be signed off by President Obama, Defence Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

And even once that is complete, the new law will not officially take effect for another 60 days. Until then, the current ban remains in place.

However, Mr Obama said there would be no foot-dragging to implement the law.

What effect will this have in the US military? Do you believe that it is right to lift the ban on gay people in the military revealing their sexuality? Send us your comments and experiences using the form below. [Click on the hyperlink above to view the form.]

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Times: Attorney General appeals in transsexual marriage case
Tuesday, 21st December 2010 - 20:01CET

The Attorney General has filed an appeal from a court sentence which had granted Joanne Cassar the right to marry a man after her gender reassignment surgery.

The case goes back to September 2006 when Ms Cassar and her then partner applied for marriage banns. The Marriage Registrar refused to issue the banns even though Ms Cassar had legally changed her gender to female on her birth certificate after the surgery.

In February 2007, Ms Cassar won a civil case in which the court ordered the Marriage Registrar to issue the wedding banns he had previously refused to issue. However, in May 2008, the decision was revoked on appeal.

The court ruled Ms Cassar would never be considered to be a “woman” according to the Marriage Act and declared the change in her birth certificate, allowing a change of name and gender, was only intended to protect the right to privacy and to avoid embarrassment.

Determined to fight for her right to marry, she opened a case in the First Hall of the Civil Court in its constitutional jurisdiction, claiming a breach of human rights. She won the case last month.

“I fought for the principle. When I opened the case I was engaged and had everything planned to get married. I can say this problem disrupted my life, Ms Cassar said later.

Ms Cassar had expressed her joy after the judgement:

“When I heard the judge read out the judgment I couldn’t believe it... I wanted to phone everyone I knew... I started from my mother and father,” Ms Cassar said with a surprising look of sadness in her eyes. “All this forces me to remember the hardships I had to endure to achieve what is mine by right,” the 29-year-old said.

Her wedding had been planned for December 2007. The stress of the court battle, coupled with the publicity, piled pressure on the couple’s relationship and they are no longer together.

Ms Cassar had expressed fears that an appeal would be filed, adding: “I’ve been through the experience”.

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

Times: Transgender Persons Register proposed in private member's motion

A private member's motion to establish the Transgender Persons Register and the procedure for recognition of a person's gender has been presented to Parliament by Labour MP Evarist Bartolo. It was first announced last week.

The motion proposes that any person domiciled in Malta could request the director to make an entry in his respect in the register.

The applicant must make a clear and unequivocal statement that his gender does not correspond to that assigned in his act of birth.

Upon receipt of the applicant's written request, the director would make an entry in the register indicating the gender specified by the applicant in his request.

If so requested by the applicant, in making the entry, the director shall replace the applicant's name or names.

After making the entry, the director would cause the entry in the register book of acts of birth relative to the applicant to be marked with the word "Transgender", the motion proposes.

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

MGRM: Proposed Gender Identity Act for Malta [English / Malti]

10.12.2010 minn Gaby Calleja, Malta Gay Rights Movement

L-MGRM, bħala parti mill-ħidma tagħha favur id-drittijiet ta’ persuni Trans, ikkummissjonat it-tfassil ta’ liġi ġdida dwar l-Identità tal-Ġeneru li tiffaċilità it-tibdil tas-sess legali għal persuni trans u li tkopri b’mod sħiħ in-nuqqasijiet tal-liġi preżenti. Din il-proposta ta’ liġi li ġiet ppreżentata llum ġiet mfassla minn Dr Neil Falzon u setgħet issir permeżż ta’ fondi mgħotija mill-International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).

Waqt il-konferenza stampa Gabi Calleja, il-kordinatriċi tal-MGRM, saħħqet fuq id-diskriminazzjoni u vjolenza li jesperjenzaw persuni trans minnħabba diffikultajiet li jaffaċċjaw biex jaċċessaw il-kura li għandhom bżonn u biex ibiddlu is-sess legali tagħhom. Hija appellat lil politiċi biex jiddiskutu bis-serjetà din il-proposta ta’ liġi biex tiġi evitata tbatija u vjolenza li mhix neċessarja fis-soċjetà ta llum.

L-avukat Neil Falzon spjega li Il-proposta għal Att dwar l-Identitá tal-Ġeneru tenfasizza d-drittijiet fondtamentali tal-bniedem, mingħajr ma dawn jiksru d-drittijiet ta' ħaddieħor. Il-proposta tibdel il-proċess ġudizzjarju ma' wieħed amministrattiv li jkun miftuħ għal kull persuna transġenera. Tneħħa r-rekwiżit li l-persuna ma tkunx miżżewġa, kif ukoll ir-rekwiżit li l-persuna tkun għamlet l-intervnet kirurġiku għat-tibdil tas-sess. Biex titħares b'mod aktar effettiv il-privatezza ta' l-informazzjoni dwar il-ġeneru tal-persuna, il-proposta tinkludi t-twaqqif ta' Reġistru ta' Persuni Transġeneri, li jkun reġistru sigriet u jaħdem bl-istess mod tar-Reġistru tal-Persuni Adottati li huwa wkoll reġistru sigriet. L-idea hi li l-proposta ma toħloqx piżijiet legali u amministrttivi żejda, u għalhekk tinkorpora sistema li diġá teżisti fil-liġi maltija.

L-Hon Evarist Bartolo tenna l-appoġġ tiegħu u tal-kap tal-partit Joseph Muscat għal din il-proposta ta’ liġi ibbazata fuq l-esperjenzi ta’ persuni trans li hu ltaqgha maghhom matul is-snin u l-intenzjoni tiegħu li jressaq din il-liġi fil-parlament dak in-nhar stess. Huwa saħaq fuq l-importanza li ż-żewġ naħat tal-kamra jiġu flimkien biex jiddiskutu b’mod serju din il-liġi li tista’ tagħmel differenza sinifikanti fil-ħajja ta’ grupp vulnerabli fis-soċjetà Maltija.

As part of its efforts towards the rights of Trans persons, the MGRM commission the drawing up of a new Gender Identity Act that would facilitate the change in legal sex for trans persons and that comprehensively tackled the limitations of the current legislation. The proposed act presented today was drawn up by Dr Neil Falzon and was made possible through funding received from the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).

At the Press Conference, Gabi Calleja, coordinator of MGRM drew attention to the discrimination and violence often experienced by trans persons due to the difficulties they face in accessing the treatment that they need and in changing their legal sex. She appealed to all politicians to seriously discuss and take into consideration the proposed Act so that needless suffering and violence may be avoided.

Lawyer Neil Falzon explained that the proposed Gender Identity Act emphasises fundamental human rights without these impinging on the rights of others. The proposal changes the judicial process to an administrative one that is open to all transgender persons. It removes the requisite that a person be unmarried, as well as the requisite that a person have undergone reassignment surgery. To safeguard more effectively the privacy regarding the gender history of the person, the proposal looks to set up a Transgender Persons Register, that would be a secret register that function in the same way as the Adopted persons register, which is also a secret register. The idea behind this proposal is to avoid creating unnecessary legal and administrative burdens, and so incorporates a system already existent in Maltese legislation.

The Hon. Evarist Bartolo expressed his support and that of the leader of the Labour Party, Joseph Muscat, for the proposed act based on real life experiences of trans persons he has encountered over the year. He announced his intention to table the Bill in parliament that same day. He emphasised the importance that both sides of the house come together to seriously discuss the proposed legislation that could make a significant impact on the lives of one of the most vulnerable groups in Maltese society.



minn Dr. Neil Falzon, Konsulent

Din il-preżentazzjoni qasira tkopri s-sitwazzjoni legali li teżisti bħalissa fil-Kodiċi Ċivili, il-problemi li hemm fid-disposizzjonijiet rilevanti, il-prinċipji li temmen fihom l-MGRM u li jiffurmaw il-bażi tal-proposta ta' liġi u fl-aħħar ħarsa lejn il-proposta nnifisha.

Huwa importanti li nenfasizzaw it-twemmin li l-ġeneru ta' persuna, bħala parti sħiħa ta' l-identitá tagħha, m'għandux jiġi stabbilit minn terzi persuni bħal tobba, imħallfin, psikoloġi jew uffiċjali ta' l-istat. Huwa d-dritt ta' kull persuna li tiddeċiedi l-ġeneru tagħha, dan wara proċess serju ta' awto-identifikazzjoni.

Qabel l-2004 il-liġi maltija ma kinitx tirregola s-sitwazzjoni ta' persuni transġeneri li xtaqu jbiddlu l-karti uffiċjali tagħhom, biex dawn jirreflettu l-ġeneru proprju tagħhom. Minħabba din is-sitwazzjoni numru ta' sentenzi mill-qrati maltin tennew li dan in-nuqqas fil-liġi kien jikser id-drittijiet tal-bniedem, b'mod partikolari id-dritt għar-rispett tal-ħajja privata tal-persuna. Dan tennietu wkoll il-Qorti Ewropeja għad-Drittijiet tal-Bniedem fi Strasbourg f'numru ta' każijiet miġjuba quddiema.

Bħala tweġiba għal dawn il-każijiet, fl-2004 saru emendi varji lil-Kodiċi Ċivili li bihom twaqqfet il-proċedura li hemm bħalissa fl-artikoli 257A sa' 257Ċ. Skond din il-proċedura, persuni transġeneri jistgħu jiftħu kawżi l-qorti biex jitolbu li ssir annotazzjoni fl-att tat-twelid tagħhom, liema annotazzjoni turi l-ġeneru affermat, jew 'ġdid', tagħhom, kif ukoll l-isem il-ġdid li għażlu bħala parti minn dan il-proċess. Biex tordna din l-annotazzjoni, il-qorti trid tkun soddisfatta li l-persuna hi verament tal-ġeneru li qed tgħid li hi, u li din tkun sitwazzjoni permanenti. Għal din l-evalwazzjoni l-qorti tinnomina perit u tordna li jsiru eżaminazzjonijiet mediċi varji.

Għalkemm it-twaqqif ta' din il-proċedura kien pass il-quddiem fir-rispett u ħarsien tad-drittijiet ta' persuni transġeneri, hemm xi elementi problematiċi u xi wħud minn dawn jistgħu jitqiesu bħala ksur tad-drittijiet fondamentali tal-bniedem, kif imħarsa fil-Kostituzzjoni maltija, kif ukoll fil-Konvenzjoni għall-Protezzjoni tad-Drittijiet tal-Bniedem u tal-Libertajiet Fondamentali.

Il-proċess ġudizzjarju nnifsu jaf jinvolvi numru ta' spejjeż, anke minħabba l-fatt li l-liġi tgħid li l-attur, il-persuna transġenera għandha tħallas ukoll l-ispejjeż tad-Direttur tar-Reġistru Pubbliku. Huwa importanti li wieħed jenfasizza l-fatt li problema komuni ħafna għal persuni transġeneri hija d-diffikoltá li jsibu xogħol u li jkomplu l-istudji tagħhom. Dan minħabba diskriminazzjoni u xi kultant anke vjolenza fuq il-post tax-xogħol u fl-iskola. Bħala parti mill-proċedura ġudizzjarja, il-perit imqabbad mill-qorti jagħmel bosta testijiet fuq il-persuna, testijiet li f'ħafna każijiet ikunu intrusivi u joffendu d-dinjitá tal-persuna. Rajna wkoll illi dawn it-testijiet isiru anke f'każijiet fejn il-persuna transġenera tippreżenta dokumenti mediċi u xhieda tat-tobba li jkunu għamlu l-intervent kirurġiku għat-tibdil tas-sess.

Problema oħra fil-liġi preżenti hija r-rekwiżit li l-persuna transġenera ma tkunx miżżewġa biex tiftaħ il-kawża l-qorti. Dan jiġifieri li persuni miżżewġin ikollhom bilfors l-ewwel jiftħu proċeduri għall-annullament taż-żwieġ tagħhom, pass li mhux bilfors huma – jew il-konjuġi tagħhom – jkunu jixtiequ. Mill-aspett tad-drittijiet tal-bniedem, it-tħassir ta' żwieġ sfurzat mill-istat iqajjem bosta ħsibijiet. F'sitwazzjonijiet fejn ikun hemm ukoll it-tfal, wieħed jista' biss jimmaġina t-tbatija psikoliġika li jgħaddu minnha l-persuni kollha involuti. Barra minn hekk, jista' jinserta l-każ illi ma jkun hemm kriterji validi għall-annullament ta-żwieġ. F'dawn il-każijiet, il-persuna transġenera tibqa' f'sitwazzjoni ta' umiljazzjoni u tbatija kontinwa.

Bil-proċedura attwali, issir annotazzjoni fuq l-att tat-twelid tal-persuna, liema annotazzjoni tibqa' tidher fuq l-att oriġinali. Dan ifisser illi terzi persuni jkunu jistgħu jaraw din l-annotazzjoni jekk jordnaw kopja ta' dan l-att mir-Reġistru Pubbliku. Din il-possibbiltá ma tħarisx biżżejjed id-dritt tar-rispett għall-ħajja privata.

Iżda l-akbar problema li hemm fil-proċedura attwali hija r-rekwiżit illi persuna transġenera tkun għamlet l-intervent kirurġiku għat-tibdil tas-sess. Għalkemm dan ir-rekwiżit mhux espliċitament meħtieġ mil-liġi, mir-raġunament tal-qrati f'dawn il-każijiet, jidher illi persuna transġenera li m'għamlitx l-intervnet ma tistax taċċeddi għal din il-proċedura, jew aħjar, tista' taċċedi għaliha iżda mingħajr ċans ta' suċċess. L-intervent kirurġiku għat-tibdil tas-sess mhux wieħed standard jew faċli, mhux irħis, mhux disponibbli f'Malta u ma jaqax fl-iskema nazzjonali tas-sigurtá soċjali. Għal dawn ir-raġunijiet, u anke għall-fatt li hemm persuni transġeneri li sempliċement ma jridux jagħmlu l-intervent, mhux ġust li biex persuna trans tibdel id-dokumenti uffiċjali tagħha jkollha bilfors tgħaddi minn dan l-intervent. L-imposizzjoni minn stat ta' intervent bħal dan, li jinvolvi wkoll l-isterilizazzjoni permanenti tal-persuna u li fih bosta riskji lill-ħajja tal-persuna, huwa meqjus bħala indħil żejjed u mhux neċessarju fil-ħajja privata ta' persuna u jimponi fuq id-dinjitá tagħha.

Problema oħra li nsibu fil-proċedura ta' llum hi l-fatt li l-valur legali ta' l-annotazzjoni fuq l-att tat-twelid mhux ċert. Dan jiġifieri li mhux ċert jekk it-tibdil tal-ġeneru fuq l-att tat-twelid, u għalhekk fuq il-karta ta' l-identitá, huwa tibdil biss kożmetiku jew jekk hux tibdil għal kull fini ta' liġi, bħal per eżempju l-pensjoni, assigurazzjoni privata u ż-żwieġ. Il-każ li hemm preżentement fil-qorti jinvolvi dan il-punt.

Il-proposta għal Att dwar l-Identitá tal-Ġeneru jipprova jegħleb dawn il-problemi billi jenfasizza d-drittijiet fondtamentali tal-bniedem, mingħajr ma dawn jiksru d-drittijiet ta' ħaddieħor. Il-proposta tibdel il-proċess ġudizzjarju ma' wieħed amministrattiv li jkun miftuħ għal kull persuna transġenera. Tneħħa r-rekwiżit li l-persuna ma tkunx miżżewġa, kif ukoll ir-rekwiżit li l-persuna tkun għamlet l-intervnet kirurġiku għat-tibdil tas-sess. L-interessi tat-tfal potenzjali tal-persuni transġeneri huwa mħarsa billi l-proposta tgħid li t-tibdil tal-ġeneru ma jaffettwax l-obbligi li ħerġin mill-istat ta' ġenitur, dan il-prinċipju ttieħed mil-liġi preżenti. Biex titħares b'mod aktar effettiv il-privatezza ta' l-informazzjoni dwar il-ġeneru tal-persuna, il-proposta tinkludi t-twaqqif ta' Reġistru ta' Persuni Transġeneri, li jkun reġistru sigriet u jaħdem bl-istess mod tar-Reġistru tal-Persuni Adottati li huwa wkoll reġistru sigriet. L-idea hi li l-proposta ma toħloqx piżijiet legali u amministrttivi żejda, u għalhekk tinkorpora sistema li diġá teżisti fil-liġi maltija.

L-għan tal-proposta hu jitħarsu b'mod aktar effettiv id-drittijiet tal-persuni transġeneri. Bħala membri tas-soċjetá tagħna, huma intitolati għall-istess livell ta' tgawdija ta' drittijiet u ta' rispett tad-dinjitá tagħhom. Ir-rikonoxximent legali tal-ġeneru ta' persuna, jekk hu l-ġeneru assenjat fit-twelid jew ġeneru ieħor, huwa proċess neċessarju għal ħajja dinjituża.