Sunday, 13 January 2013

Malta today: Labour government to introduce civil unions for same sex couples

Second Labour proposal is the enactment of law regulating the identification of transgender individuals.
Saturday 12 January 2013 - 19:28 by Miriam Dalli

Labour leader Joseph Muscat.

Labour leader Joseph Muscat pledged that a Labour governent would introduce the right of civil union for same sex couples while also enacting a law regulating the identification of transgender persons.

Speaking at a 'Malta for us too' [Malta taghna wkoll] seminar organised by LGBT Labour, Muscat also said that a member of a Labour Cabinet would be appointed to specifically focus on equality and civil rights. He said that this person's role would be to push forward civil rights and equality.

"40 years ago, a Labour government decriminalised homosexuality. I think it is high time that we introduce more civil rights because we truly want a society that belongs to all," Muscat said.

The Labour leader said that the proposed civil union would be one that reflected "the relationship shared between a couple who loved each other and not a relationship between siblings".

He said that a future Labour government would be doing this out of conviction and not out of political convenience.

"If you ask me whether it will attract or repel votes, I honestly wouldn't know what to reply. But for me it stops here. Because other than introducing this right, it doesn't concern me."

Muscat also pledged to forward a gender identity bill to rectify issues that the transgender community continuously faced.

A Labour government would also set up a consultative council, which would include the participation of NGOs, that government would consult with on LGBT and equality issues.

"We are committed to work to bring about change. One word that irritates me the most is 'tollerance', as if this is an issue of tolerating someone or something, as if one is a nuisance. This is a matter of rights," he said.

Muscat said that campaigns against homophobia would also form part of Labour's work, but it will go beyond. One proposal is to broaden the remit of the Employment Commission to cover discrimination by sexual orientation and also to sign Protocol 12 the European Convention of Human Rights, which prohibits discrimination on various grounds.

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