Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Malta Today: ‘History to judge us by what is right’ - Muscat

Labour leader Joseph Muscat makes an impassionate plea for the introduction of more civil rights including the right of civil union to the LGBT community.
Tuesday 5 March 2013 - 20:47 by Miriam Dalli

Labour leader Joseph Muscat addressing the crowd in Bormla.

In what could be described as the best he gave during this 60-day long campaign, Labour leader Joseph Muscat delivered the most impassionate and heartfelt speech of all in which he urged the electorate to join him in introducing new civil rights for the LGBT community.

Starting off his speech by reiterating that the 9 March choice was between doing away with the politics of the past and moving towards a new way of doing politics, Muscat slowly built up a momentum which took him to call for a more inclusive society and a new government which would give homosexuals and trans persons the right to form a civil union.

"We spoke at length about work, education, health and other issues, but it's time to look at the values and the principles which are the foundations of this party: civil rights and liberties."

Muscat said every person enjoyed the same rights as others and no one had the right to take them away.

"And we will work as a movement to see that these rights and liberties increase. Yes, in the past we have made mistakes and we have allowed divisions to separate us. But we have grown, we admitted our mistakes and we apologized. But we also were the party who brought the biggest changes, which introduced civil rights and who decriminalised homosexuality at a time when everyone thought differently.

"They were on the right side of history then and now it is our time to be on the right side of history. It is the time for us, for the young generations, to stand up and give our country back to its people."

Muscat said that just like the Labour government 40 years ago introduced civil rights, a Labour movement today would continue introducing further civil rights.

"Like the PL didn't allow such conservative times to stop it, a new Labour government will not stop at introducing more civil rights. Any individual, irrespective of their sexual orientation, irrespective of whether they are trans, should have the right for a family. It's time for this country to stop differentiating between families. I don't care if this will cost me votes," he said.

At that point, just like the majority of the crowd gathered under the tent in Bormla, Joanne Cassar - who despite undergoing gender reassignment therapy and being officially recognized as a woman was denied the possibility of marrying her male partner in 2006 - could be seen highly emotional.

"Destiny has given us the chance to be on the right side of history once again," Muscat continued. "There will be those who believe this might cost us votes. But I don't care. History will judge us by what is good and not by votes."

Muscat's impassionate plea continued when he called on to the electorate to "help" him deliver the message to those who would be voting Labour for the first time.

"We believe you. We believe you when you say you will be voting for us for the first time. Come with us because your place is with us," Muscat said as the crowd exploded in one roar of "Joseph! Joseph!"

Also present for the political activity was a Libyan delegation led by Ali Tarhouni, Libya's former oil and finance minister and today the head of the National Centrist Party.

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