Sunday, 17 April 2011

Di-ve: Government criticised over non-recognition of same-sex couples
12 April 2011,

Malta's failure to recognise the rights of same-sex couples under the EU's freedom of movement directive was strongly criticised by the Malta Gay Rights Movement and recently set up human rights NGO Aditus today.
In a joint statement, the organisations welcomed the European Commission's decision to address the matter, and urged the Maltese government to reconsider its policy of absolute non-recognition of same-sex relationships.

They stressed that despite Malta's policy not to recognise same-sex partnerships, recognising those obtained elsewhere for the directive's purposes was obligatory.

The directive "requires the competent authorities to facilitate the entry and residence of a third country national's same-sex spouse or partner, as long as the relationship is a durable one. Furthermore, the directive also obliges the authorities to justify any denial of entry or residence to such persons," Aditus chairman Neil Falzon said.

In cases where both members of a couple are EU citizens, the lack of recognition leads to an anomalous situation where a couple loses its civil status – and the rights and responsibilities this brought – upon relocating to Malta, the 2 organisations said. When couples are made up of an EU national and a non-EU national, Malta denies the latter freedom of movement by refusing to facilitate entry and residence as required by the directive.

"This ultimately results in the couple being required to move to another EU member state that does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, or to possibly end the relationship if relocation is undesirable or impracticable," the 2 NGOs said.

"Malta's current policy approach results in a possible violation of the directive, and an intrusion in the private and family lives of EU citizens and, where applicable, their same- sex spouses or partners," MGRM coordinator Gabriella Calleja said.

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