Sunday, 13 January 2013

Di-ve: PL: Same sex couples have a right to Civil Union
12.1.13 by Charlene Mifsud

A new Labour government will introduce the right of Civil Union for couples of the same gender, Joseph Muscat said during a seminar regarding Civil Rights and Opportunities held at the Corinthia Hotel, Attard.

The PL Leader stated that if entrusted with the country's leadership the party will have a political person specifically responsible for Civil Rights and Equality.

PL also pledged to enact a Consultation Council where interested NGO's can discuss and advise the government over issues that will have an impact on the LGBT community.

A law will be enacted that realistically regulates the identification of transgendered persons particularly highlighting ways how these can legally identify their gender.

Furthermore Protocol No. 12 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms will be put into action to ensure that all persons are equal before the law and are entitled to the equal protection, Dr Muscat said.

The PL leader continued that the powers and responsibilities of the Employment Commission will be increased in order to better protect against discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation and political opinion in the job industry.

Four LGBT individuals shared their experience with those present and how their sexuality is effecting their everyday life.

A newly law graduate who counts himself as fortunate to have been was accepted by parents and friends when he came out, Franklin Cachia said he feels that not only must the law change but how people react to people with a different sexual orientation should change too. According to law in Malta, a civil union that is celebrated abroad can be rejected because of public policy. Gay people are discriminated every day because they are denied the right to marry as found in the marriage convention. Dr Cachia, who wishess to have a family and kids, hopes that this election will be the first step towards equal rights.

National Youth Parliament Member Oriana Farrugia, feels that under this government nothing has changed in how the LGBT community is treated. Sadly she recounted that because of bullying and social rejection many of her friends committed suicide. All that the LGBT community is asking for is the right to live with dignity, Farrugia feels.

Celine Paris, a 35-year old, transsexual and business-owner explained how she came out at the age of 18. She feels that in this country it is harder to be transsexual than gay, “but I wanted to come out even knowing that it could doom my business,” she said. Doing a sex change operation is difficult both financially and psychologically for the person, Paris explained. She feels her ID card does not identify who she really is as it still shows her as being a man, creating uncomfortable situations particularly when it comes to job interviews, and issuing of official documents.

Albert Gauci Cunningham said that gay people have their own ambitions, know what they want and are determined to get them. What the LGBT community is asking for is theirs by right and he wants to support a leader who keeps the LGBT community in mind throughout the legislature. Mr Gauci Cunningham mentioned the Bill that Evarist Bartolo had proposed but was never picked up during this legislation. He expressed his opinion that not all gays want to get involved in a civil union but the right should not be denied to those who want it.

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