Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Times: Government being ‘evasive’ over same-sex couples

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The government’s responses to a parliamentary question on the freedom of movement of same-sex couples were “evasive and unsatisfactory”, the Malta Gay Rights Movement and human rights organisation Aditus said.

They said Justice Minister Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici had denied any knowledge of the issue in a recent meeting and stated a preference to deal with such matters on a case-by-case basis.

They condemned the government for what they termed as the incorrect transposition of the Freedom of Movement Directive, on which the European Commission would take action against Malta.

The two organisations applauded the Commission for taking steps in addressing the situation and called on the Maltese authorities to reconsider their policy.

Failing to recognise a same-sex union meant that if both members were EU citizens they would lose their civil status if they relocated to Malta, together with the rights and responsibilities attached to that status, the organisations noted. Where one member of the couple was a third-country national, Malta denied the right to freedom of movement by refusing to facilitate entry and residence, as required by the directive, they added.

“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 impractical,” they said.

Despite Malta’s policy of non-recognition of same-sex marriages, registered partnerships or any other form of same-sex relationship, the Freedom of Movement Directive was nonetheless compulsory, MGRM and Aditus said.

“It is reprehensible the government hides behind a self-determined policy of same-sex relationships being ‘against public policy’ in justifying its homophobic and discriminatory stance and in effect negating and denying the legitimacy and worth of thousands of local, loving same-sex relationships,” they said.

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

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