Monday, 4 March 2013

Malta Today: Nationalists leave gay vote waiting for answers to MGRM questions

Labour will not allow sperm donation and access to gay parents to IVF services.
Saturday 2 March 2013 - 16:18 by Matthew Vella

They kick-started their campaign with an emblem that mimicked the hues of Maltese diversity, inviting voters to - Lawrence Gonzi's words - "feel welcome, whatever their lifestyle, their colour, or their sexual orientation... we're the party that believed in the freedom of expression, and for whom diversity will be the main ingredient in its policies."

FULL position paper and questionnaire [OPENS PDF]

So it's with some surprise that the Malta Gay Rights Movement's questionnaire was left without answers by the PN's campaign team - a sign that it's not the dearth of proposals that is wrong here, but the PN's lacklustre speed at giving the pink vote some answers.

Labour and AD on the other hand ticked yes to the MGRM's calls for gender identity laws, anti-discrimination laws, and equality. Their divergences are squarely on gay marriage, which Labour does not support; and IVF, which Labour will not amend to allow the donation of third-party gametes or grant gay people access to IVF.

In a statement, the MGRM paid tribute to important changes for Malta's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people since 1973, when the law criminalising sodomy was repealed. These also included the transposition of the EU's Employment Framework and Freedom of Movement Directives; the amendment to the Criminal Code regulating hate crimes, extending the scope of the law to include sexual orientation and gender identity and the extension of the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality (NCPE) remit to include these grounds.

Also recently, the Civil Code allowed for the change in name and gender annotations in official documents of post-operative transgender persons.

"These have given LGBT people some of the basic legal rights and protections that other people have long taken for granted. However, LGBT people continue to face prejudice and discrimination on a regular basis and in a number of spheres," the MGRM said.

The movement said it wants a comprehensive Gender Identity Bill that would facilitate the gender recognition of transgender persons irrespective of whether they have undergone gender reassignment surgery and which would ensure that such recognition had effect on all spheres of life including marriage.

It also called for immediate steps to counter the discrimination faced by young LGBT people and young people within LGBT families, ensuring policies provide adequate protection for students, staff and teachers of different sexual orientations and gender identities against all forms of social exclusion within the school environment, including bullying and harassment.

The MGRM also said the government should provide equal rights and recognition at par with marriage to same-sex couples by taking all necessary legislative, administrative and other measures to ensure that any right, obligation, entitlement, privilege or benefit available to different-sex partners is equally available to same-sex unmarried partners.

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