FRIDAY, AUGUST 19, 2011 By MATTHEW VELLA
Alternattiva Demokratika - The Green Party welcomed the changes in legislation on freedom of movement which discriminated against EU nationals in same sex relations.
Alternattive Demokratika has welcomed the removal of a proviso in Maltese law that discriminated against EU nationals in same sex relationships, denying them the same rights to freedom of movement which they enjoyed in other EU countries.
Angele Deguara, social policy spokesperson, said rights obtained by same-sex couples in other EU countries could not be denied in Malta.
Yvonne Arqueros Ebejer, AD spokesperson for civil rights said AD was the only political party in Malta which advocates equal rights to LGBT persons. “AD urges the government to take action so that LGBT persons will have their relationships legally recognised and their rights protected.”
AD chairperson Michael Briguglio said the Maltese government had once again dragged its feet on the rights of LGBT people.
“But the pressure on the European Commission by LGBT rights movements such as ILGA-Europe and the Malta Gay Rights Movement was successful. Within the European Parliament, the European Greens are giving prominence to LGBT rights.
“As a Green Party we look forward to further progress in LGBT rights. AD is against any form of discrimination in social and family policy on the basis of one’s sexuality,” Briguglio said.
The Maltese government buckled under pressure from the European Commission and removed a legal clause that discriminated against EU nationals in same-sex relationships.
Since April 2010, Malta and EC officials had been locked in talks on the interpretation of the free movement directive (2004/38/EC). Specifically, Maltese legislation that was supposed to have transposed EU law recognised partners “in a durable relationship” with EU citizens only if such relationships were not in “conflict with the public policy of Malta”.
This interpretation meant that same-sex couples moving to Malta would not enjoy the same rights they are entitled to across the EU.
But despite Malta’s absolute policy of non-recognition of same-sex marriages, registered partnerships or any form of same-sex relationship, the Freedom of Movement Directive is obligatory.
While opening the door to equal rights for same-sex and opposite-sex partners of any EU citizen, the director of citizenship and expatriate affairs is also being empowered to undertake an “extensive examination of the personal circumstances” of such couples, and will have to justify any denial of entry to residence of unmarried partners or other couples who claim to have a “durable relationship.”
The Freedom of Movement Directive gives certain rights to family members of EU citizens, irrespective of their nationality and sexual orientation, to move freely and reside in any EU member state.
[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on MaltaToday's website.]