Saturday, 21 January 2012

Malta Star: MGRM: we want same sex couples to have same rights and status of opposite sex couples

13 January 2012 16:13

The Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM) said that today presented a position paper on marriage equality in favour of giving same-sex couples the same status and rights available to opposite sex couples and their children. Gabi Calleja said: “The discrimination experienced by same-sex couples is no longer tenable in today’s world and we will not cease our efforts until our goal has been achieved whether this takes months, years or even decades.”

She said that as a movement “we have always expressed our dissatisfaction with a potential cohabitation law that failed to recognise same-sex couples not on the basis of living in the same household but because of their relationship to each other.”

Calleja said she hoped that the position paper on marriage equality prepared by MGRM “will give rise to a reasoned and much needed debate that is respectful of our relationships and the families we create and that is based on secular and human rights rather than religious discourse.”

Calleja said: “We have been excluded from public policy definitions of family and have observed in disbelief as our constitutional court refused a trans woman the right to marry. Those of us with partners from third countries have had to live with the stress of knowing that their partner’s visa might be refused and that they might be forced to emigrate in order to stay together.”

Dr Neil Falzon who prepared the potion paper together with Dr Carla Camilleri said today that “In a pluralistic society that respects the religious beliefs and non-beliefs of all its members, private opinions on what marriage is and is not are in principle acceptable. When these private opinions take on the strength of public policy, law and court interpretations individual freedoms are inevitably threatened.”

Dr Falzon said: “The European Court of Human Rights, has not yet recognised the human right of same-sex persons to marry. But the Court is saying two very important things:

- whilst the right to marry does not automatically include same-sex couples, it does not automatically exclude them either…meaning the door has already been pushed open for a future recognition;

- it is ultimately only a matter of time. Marriage equality is not a human right today because of lack of European consensus

…things might change tomorrow as more European states recognise that the only way to fully respect and protect the fundamental human rights of same-sex couples is to offer them the exact same legal guarantees offered to different-sex couples.”

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