Monday, 21 May 2012

Malta Today: AD calls for civil unions for gays on international day against homophobia
Thursday 17 May 2012 - 10:57

Greens says Malta has worst level of legal recognition and protection among EU-27.

Alternattiva Demokratika has expressed concern with Malta's track record on the recognition of the rights of the LGBT community.

Angele Deguara, AD spokesperson for social policy and civil rights, said Malta offers minimal protection to gay persons against discrimination, and that such protection is only in force because Malta had to comply with EU requirements.

"The legal recognition of same-sex partnerships has been put on the agenda lately but with the cohabitation law in the pipeline for more than a decade, it is difficult to imagine that such a legislation would make it through parliament during this legislature," Deguara said.

A map and index issued this week by ILGA-Europe show that Malta has the worst level of legal recognition and protection among the EU-27 members states. The index looked at anti-discrimination legislation and measures, legal recognition of same-sex couples, legal gender recognition of trans people and other criteria and gave Malta a 0 out of a maximum of 30 points.

"AD believes that same-sex couples should be able to form civil unions with equal rights to marriage. Malta still has one of the most archaic laws regarding the gender recognition of trans people. No domestic health care and gender reassignment procedures exist and the State provides no financial assistance to persons who need to undergo this procedure abroad.

"Furthermore, the State offers no protection to trans people regarding gender identity, a situation which may lead not only to uncomfortable situations and feelings of insecurity but also to infringements of rights such as the right to marry an opposite sex partner," Deguara said.

AD has welcomed the justice minister's declaration that the definition of hate crimes will be widened to include crimes against persons on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity. However, no concrete measures have so far been taken as the legal amendments have still not passed in parliament.

"AD urges the government to stop dragging its feet on these matters and the Labour Opposition to take a clear stand regarding its proposed policies on LGBT persons," Deguara said.

Michael Briguglio, AD Chairperson, said: "AD firmly believes in a just and equal society and urges the Government to stop dragging its feet on these matters. AD also calls on the other political parties to adopt clear proposals and take a clear stand for the affirmation of the rights of LGBT persons. Equality should not be relegated to a few slogans in the election campaign but should be a constant commitment of all."

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