Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Di-ve: Gay rights movement deems IVF act 'discriminatory'
31 | 07 | 2012 at 08:52

The Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM) said in a statement that it holds the Embryo Protection Act to be "blatantly discriminatory on the basis of sexual orientation and inherently homophobic in nature".

The MGRM said it believes that by excluding same sex couples and single persons from its definition of prospective parents, the Act goes against basic human rights principles such as the right to start a family.

The MGRM noted that "according to the Yogyakarta Principles on the Application of International Human Rights Law in relation to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity drawn up by a distinguished group of human rights experts, states should take all necessary legislative, administrative and other measures to ensure the right to found a family, including through access to adoption or assisted procreation (including donor insemination), without discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity".

The movement added that states should also take all necessary legislative, administrative and other measures to ensure that any obligation, entitlement, privilege, obligation or benefit available to different-sex unmarried partners be equally available to same-sex unmarried partners.

The MGRM pointed out that this principle has been upheld in a number of European Court of Human Rights judgements which, in the case of Schalk and Kopf v. Austria, held that same sex couples living in a stable relationship constitute family life and in a number of other cases held that states acted in violation of article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) when they treated cohabiting same-sex couples differently from cohabiting opposite-sex couples.

Enacting legislation that would deny medical treatment on the basis of sexual orientation would constitute "a worrying precedent that has far reaching implications and engenders serious doubts in the minds of lesbian and gay citizens on this government’s commitment to equality", the MGRM said.

The MGRM said that it further holds that "the criminalisation of sperm and egg donation has absolutely nothing to do with the protection of the embryo and is based on a restrictive model of the family which no longer applies in today’s world". The movement remarked that "it is not the role of the State to determine who can or cannot become a parent and the introduction of this Act would constitute an unjustified intrusion in the private lives of individuals".

Gabi Calleja, Coordinator of MGRM, said: "It is truly shameful that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons will be forced to access reproductive health services in other countries at their own expense while subsidising the health services available to their heterosexual counterparts with their tax contributions, once again reinforcing the notion of second class citizenship."

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