SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2011 By BIANCA CARUANA
Gay community should 'boycott' cohabitation laws that do not celebrate the love of gay people in relationships. 'We're still treated as third class citizens' - Felix Busuttil.
Choreographer Felix Busuttil said the gay community should ‘boycott’ a law on cohabitation unless equal partnerships for gay couples are recognised by the state.
Busuttil, 47, told GWU organ It-Torca that a law on cohabitation was not a recognition of the love of two people living together. “This law will just put gay persons at par with some grandfather who lives with their niece or the uncle who lives with the great grandmother,” Busuttil said.
“Gay couples living under one roof should be given exactly the same rights as any other straight couple. Nothing more, nothing less,” Busuttil said.
A cohabitation bill to grant unmarried couples rights akin to those who are married is still in the works. The 1998 electoral pledge by the Nationalist Party was never taken up, until Lawrence Gonzi was faced with a private member’s bill on divorce by Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, which went on to become law after a national referendum approved it.
Felix Busuttil has however rejected the notion that the law could be a substitute for gay marriage. “Gay people in Malta are being treated as third-class citizens without any rights, paying the same amount of tax as any other citizen… the gay community must be included actively in equal state laws.”
“This is not a choice or influence. Gays are the children of heterosexual people, not homosexual. If there was a choice, it would be much easier to choose to be straight and not gay,” said Busuttil.
Busuttil argued that civil partnerships would introduce equal recognition of rights irrespective of sexual orientation or gender. Gay marriage would also be treated the same as any other in regards to “taxes, pensions, inheritance, hospital and prison visits, bereavement leave, next-of-kin and other laws taken for granted by straight politicians.”
He also said civil partnerships would give more stability and responsibility than cohabitation rights. “It would also prove a social commitment by Maltese and Europeans toward equal rights just as before when different races were accepted as ‘children of God’ and women were given more rights when they were recognised as equal to men.”
Busuttil also hit out at double standards preventing gay men and women from adopting children. “Because many gay couples today want children too, it is stupid and disrespectful to use ‘gay’ and ‘paedophile’ in the same sentence. They have nothing to do with each other,” Busuttil said of the unfair opposition to gay adoptions.
“There are many straight parents who molest their own children, so should the right for heterosexual people to have children also be removed?”
Busuttil also said children had to be better educated in understanding that being gay was not a life choice, but a genetic trait affecting 10% of the world population. “It would increase appreciation and respect toward the gay community reducing bullying and serious suicide cases.”
The choreographer also said there was greater need for more separation between Chuch and state, the latter being obliged to protect minorities and their human rights. “And that includes love, which is an essential human right.”
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