Saturday, 27 April 2013

Pink News: Colombia: Senate defies Supreme Court to reject equal marriage bill
25 April 2013, 12:39am by Joseph Patrick McCormick

Pro-equality protests took place as the Senate considered the bill

The Colombian Senate on Wednesday rejected a bill which would have allowed same-sex couples the right to marry.

The decision by the Senate directly defies a previous ruling by the Supreme Court that it must allow equal marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples.

The vote was 51-17 against, a day after Senators debated on the issue, and Rainbow flags were out in force in Bogota, in pro-equality demonstrations.

Radio Australia: Vietnam may be first in Asia to legalise gay marriage

Vietnam may become the first country in Asia to legalise gay marriage, after it has received the backing of senior figures within the government.
Updated 25 April 2013, 13:57 AEST

Cyclists decorated with balloons and rainbow flags take part in Vietnam's first ever gay pride parade on a road in Hanoi on August 5, 2012. (Credit: AFP)

Vietnam may become the first country in Asia to legalise gay marriage, after it has received the backing of senior figures within the government.

Earlier this month, local media reported the country's Deputy Health Minister as recommending gay marriage be legalised, during a speech reviewing marriage and family law.

iNews Malta: Joanne Cassar bi żjara sorpriża lill-Ministru Dalli
16:03 | 25.04.2013

Kien mument emozzjonanti meta iktar kmieni llum Joanne Cassar għamlet żjara sorpriża lill-Ministru Helena Dalli. Permezz ta’ bukkett fjuri, Cassar riedet turi l-apprezzament tagħha għal mod kif il-gvern ħa azzjoni konkreta biex hija u nies oħra transgender ikollhom id-drittijiet imħarsa. Cassar kienet akkumpanjata mis-sieħeb tagħha.

Times: French Parliament approves gay marriage law
Wednesday, April 24, 2013 by Reuters

French humorist and TV host Virginie Merle, also known as ‘Frigide Barjot’ (second from right), spokeswoman for the La Manif pour Tous (Demonstration for All) group who protest against France’s legalisation of same-sex marriage, attends a demonstration in Paris, yesterday. The French Parliament approved a law allowing same-sex couples to marry and to adopt children, a flagship reform pledge by French President François Hollande which sparked violent street protests and a rise in homophobic attacks. Photo: Reuters/Jacky Naegelen

French Parliament approved a law allowing same-sex couples to marry and to adopt children yesterday, a flagship reform pledge by President François Hollande which sparked often violent street protests and a rise in homophobic attacks.

Hollande’s “marriage for all” law is the biggest social reform in France since his left-wing mentor and predecessor François Mitterrand abolished the death penalty in 1981, a move which also split the nation.

Independent: Will Same-Sex Couples have to live apart for four years before their union is dissolved?
Thursday, 25 April 2013, 08:30 , by Daphne Caruana Galizia

The government has promised a bill on same-sex civil unions before the summer. This is a far cry from the proper marriage, under the existing marriage laws, which the gay lobby thought it would get by voting for Joseph. Unfortunately, what we saw over the last two or three years was a sort of Tulip Fever pandemic in which people heard one thing and believed another. They actually heard Muscat say on television that he doesn’t think marriage between two people of the same sex is quite right, and that he won’t go beyond civil union. But still they believed they would get marriage by voting Labour.

Times: Bill on same-sex civil unions by summer
Tuesday, April 23, 2013 by Matthew Xuereb

A Bill on civil unions for same-sex couples will be moved in Parliament before the summer recess, Social Dialogue Minister Helena Dalli said yesterday.

The Bill, she said, was one of the main priorities of a new consultative council set up to address LGBT issues.

The council will be chaired by Cyrus Engerer while organisations represented on the council are the Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM), Drachma, Drachma Parents Support Group, the students group ‘We Are’, ADITUS and LGBT Labour.

She said the council was formed in the wake of a first reading in Parliament last week of a Bill to amend the Civil Code, to enable people who undergo gender re-assignment to marry a person of the opposite gender.

This followed the settlement reached with Joanne Cassar who dropped proceedings in the European Court of Human Rights against the Maltese Government after she was denied the right to marry.

Dr Dalli said the council will also re-visit the Gender Identity Bill which had been submitted to Parliament by Education Minister Evarist Bartolo three years ago.

She said it was government policy to respect all people in the context of diversity and stressed the need for society to address homophobia through improved education.

This will be another issue on which the council is expected to work, along with tackling harassment and bullying in schools.

“Children must be exposed to education and information on such issues from a very early age,” Dr Dalli said.

Addressing hate crimes was also among the Government’s priorities, she said, adding that education should focus on celebrating diversity and fighting prejudice.

“The Government believes in an open and free society which safeguards human rights and fundamental liberties where everyone can fulfil her or his aspirations.”

Mr Engerer and the organisations on the consultative council will receive no remuneration.

Times: Clashes as France approves gay marriages
Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 06:53

[Click on the hyperlink above to watch the video.]

A protest opposing the passage of France's same-sex marriage bill descended into violence last night, with a group of protesters scuffling with riot police.

Several policemen were injured in the incidents which followed on from a peaceful demonstration of thousands of opponents to the law legalising gay marriage and adoption, passed by the French parliament earlier in the day.

With several demonstrations turning violent in recent days, police were out in force at the event and a small core of protesters turned on them.

Around 100, mostly young, demonstrators threw bottles, stones and pieces of street furniture at the security forces, who used tear gas to keep them back.

Deputies in France's parliament voted 331 to 225 in favour of the law which makes the country the 14th in the world to allow same-sex marriages.

But the landmark social reform has faced vocal protests from an opposition movement uniting social conservatives with religious groups and hundreds of thousands have been brought out onto the streets in recent months.

Malta Today: Government launches LGBT consultative council

Social dialogue and civil liberties minister Helena Dalli launches consultative council gay rights.
Monday 22 April 2013 - 17:25 by a Staff Reporter

Helena Dalli (centre) alongside Joanne Cassar who dropped proceedings in the European Court of Human Rights against the Maltese government over her preclusion from marrying.

A consultative council has been set up to advise government and prepare legislation on LGBT rights, social dialogue and civil liberties minister Helena Dalli said.

The council, which will be composed of civil society representatives, was created following the tabling of the draft bill amending the civil code in order to grant the right to marriage to transgender persons.

Dalli said that the council will include representatives of LGBT organisations, which she said had the "experience, expertise and access to research on the issue."

Malta Today: Is it time to say goodbye, Mr President?

For those who are not elected and in a state of discomfort, the way out is there for all to see. The office is more important than the individual.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013 by Joseph Carmel Chetcuti

President George Abela

The task of delivering speeches at the opening of State parliaments falls on the shoulders of Heads of State. In the United Kingdom, the Queen delivers the speech at the State Opening of Parliament 'from the Throne' in the House of Lords and in the presence of Members of both Houses, a speech that is drawn up by the government and approved by the Cabinet. In many other countries including Malta, the head of state delivers the speech to the legislature.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Sky News: New Zealand MP's Gay Marriage Speech Goes Viral

A day after New Zealand legalises gay marriage, an MP's impassionate defence of the bill draws roars of laughter in parliament.
UK, Thursday 18 April 2013 By Jonathan Samuels, Australia Correspondent

An MP's hilarious yet touching speech in New Zealand's parliament about legislation that legalised same-sex marriage in the country has become an internet hit.

Independent: Government sets up LGBT consultative council
Monday, 22 April 2013, 17:58

The government has appointed a consultative council tasked with preparing legislation and making recommendations on issues concerning LGBT people.

Civil Liberties Minister Helena Dalli announced that the council will involve NGOs which are involved in LGBT issues, namely the Malta Gay Rights Movement, Catholic LGBT group Drachma and the affiliated Drachma Parents Support Group, university organisation We Are, the Aditus Foundation and LGBT Labour.

Times: Consultative council on LGBT rights to focus on civil unions
Monday, April 22, 2013, 18:00

A consultative council has been appointed by the government to give recommendations and prepare legislation involving the LGBT community.

Social Dialogue Minister Helena Dalli said the formation of the council came in the wake of a first reading in Parliament last week of a Bill to amend the Civil Code to enable people who undergo gender re-assignment to marry a person of the opposite gender.

Times: Anti-gay marriage protest in Paris
Monday, April 22, 2013 by Reuters

Protesters shouting slogans in a protest march, in Paris, yesterday. Photo: Reuters

Thousands of gay marriage opponents waving pink and blue flags marched through Paris yesterday in a last-ditch protest before a law allowing same-sex union and adoption is passed this week.

Chanting “We don’t want your law, Hollande!”, some 50,000 protesters massed behind a banner reading: “All born of a Mum and a Dad” and said it was undemocratic to bring about such a fundamental social change without holding a referendum.

Pink News: Malta: Gay and trans council appointed to advise on introduction of same-sex civil partnerships
22 April 2013, 8:55pm by Staff Writer

Malta currently does not have legal recognition for trans people

A consultative council has been appointed by the ruling Labour government to give recommendations and prepare upcoming legislation relating to LGBT people.

The council was formed by Social Dialogue Minister Helena Dalli after the first reading of a bill that will allow trans people who undergo gender reassignment to marry a person with the same birth gender.

The government has been forced to introduce a law after it dropped opposition to a case brought against it on the issue in the European Court of Human rights. oanne Cassar, a 31-year-old hairdresser, began legal proceedings in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in 2011 after she was prevented from marrying on the island.

iNews Malta: Ibbuljar u persuni LGBT: “Hemm bżonn iktar minn kuxjenza”
17:42 | 21.04.2013

Waqt diskussjoni fl-Università ta’ Malta fl-aħħar jiem, Gabi Calleja, koordinatur tal-Malta Gay Rights Movement, saħqet li wasal iż-żmien li nieqfu nitkellmu biss dwar “awarness” u saħqet li issa rridu naġixxu. Dan meta kienet qiegħda tkun diskussa l-problema ta’ ibbuljar fil-konfront ta’ persuni omosesswali. Referenza partikolari kienet qiegħda ssir lejn l-istituzzjonijiet edukattivi.

Malta Today: France expected to approve gay marriage law amid protests

Supporters of anti-gay marriage movement in France expected to take to the streets of Paris in a last attempt to block the gay marriage law.
Sunday 21 April 2013 - 10:05

France is expected to become the 14th country in the world to legalise same-sex unions when next week, the French parliament is expected to pass the bill allowing gays to marry and adopt children after weeks of opposition protests which last week culminated in several days of hostile and sometimes violent rallies.

The bill was a key manifesto pledge by France's Socialist president Francois Hollande.

Tension over the imminent adoption of the law -- which is going through a second reading after already being approved in the French parliament's upper and lower houses -- reached breaking point last week.

Independent: LGBT consultative council to be set up on Monday

Photographs: Mina Tolu

The consultative council for LGBT people will be set up by the government on Monday, said Jonathan Brimmer, a spokesperson for the Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties Ministry.

The council will be composed of NGOs who work for LGBT rights, and will be making proposals to the government on addressing issues and bullying. It will also be preparing Bills including that on civil unions and the gender identity Bill, which will follow.

Times: New Zealand passes gay marriage law
Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 12:45 by PA

Hundreds of jubilant gay rights advocates celebrated at New Zealand's Parliament today as the country become the 13th in the world and the first in the Asia-Pacific region to legalise same-sex marriage.

Politicians voted 77 to 44 in favour of the gay marriage Bill.

Times: Leaving tough jobs to men
Tuesday, April 16, 2013 by Allan Gatt, Birkirkara

In his maiden address to Parliament, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat appropriated the prison truancy sting as an opportunity to “change working practices which are stifling job creation and opportunities for women. There is a masculine attitude in government departments and we want to eradicate it”.

This is a baffling statement. Is Dr Muscat hating on himself? He is, after all, a man, as is the majority of Cabinet, Parliament, and the country now under his direction. It is unfortunate that a Labour party which is so open-minded about the LGBT community and transgender individuals’ right to marry should manifest such self-loathing.

Malta Today: Greens welcomes settlement between Joanne Cassar and government

AD - Transgender persons should be given full recognition of their new identity without any requirements which go against human rights standards.
Wednesday 17 April 2013 - 10:03 by a Staff Reporter

Joanne Cassar (right) with, from left Attorney General Peter Grech and civil liberties minister Helena Dalli.

Alternattiva Demokratika, the Green Party, has welcomed a settlement between the Maltese government and Joanne Cassar, who retracted her case to the European Court of Human Rights after she was denied the right to marry despite having a change in gender identity legally recognised.

Cassar, a transgender whose identity as a woman was legally recognised by the Maltese courts, was still prevented from marrying by the Maltese marriage registrar.

Times: The best man in the Cabinet
Monday, April 15, 2013 by Helena Dalli

The Margaret That­cher obituaries have been a mixed bag of both praise and scorn. Those who supported her say that she rescued their country; on the other hand, her critics say she demolished it. This is reminiscent of when, during the time she was Prime Minister, one’s politics was defined by whether one was for or against Thatcher’s policies.

We recalled the times when she ruled with an iron fist and was dubbed ‘the best man in the Cabinet’ and were reminded that the lady was not for turning. Others depicted Thatcher as a bully who repressed opponents.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Times: It’s not just about gender boundaries
Sunday, April 14, 2013 by Mark Anthony Falzon

Civil Liberties Minister Helena Dalli announced last week that there had been an out-of-court settlement with Joanne Cassar. Cassar, who had undergone gender reassignment surgery, is now free to marry (a man). She will also get fair compensation for her troubles at the European Court of Human Rights.

My reactions are twofold. First, that minister Dalli and the Government she’s part of did the right thing in finding an amicable and satisfactory solution. Second, that I wish Joanne Cassar well. Her happiness comes at nobody’s expense and that can only be good.

Malta Today: Last man standing | Simon Busuttil

Deputy leader Simon Busuttil took much of the blame for the PN’s electoral rout on 9 March. But did he really screw up the entire campaign?
Monday 15 April 2013 - 10:05 by Raphael Vassallo

PN deputy leader Simon Busuttil

As I have had occasion to previously observe, hindsight is a useful ally when it comes to analysing election results. And with hindsight, Simon Busuttil's single-handed efforts to rescue the Nationalist Party from crushing defeat now come across as... rather tragic.

After presenting himself almost as a 'salvatur' figure for the PN (during the campaign he had literally offered himself up as a 'guarantee' that past mistakes would not be repeated), the election result appears to confirm that Busuttil may as well have not bothered relinquishing his MEP seat in Brussels at all.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Times: Marriage law changes coming soon
Sunday, April 14, 2013 by Claudia Calleja

Joanne Cassar is inching closer to winning her battle for the right to marry. 
Photo: Paul Spiteri Lucas

Marriage law amendments that will grant those who undergo gender reassignment surgery the right to marry have been drafted and will be on the parliamentary agenda “in the coming days”, a Government spokesman has said.

The enactment of the amendments will clear the way for Joanne Cassar – who underwent gender reassignment surgery to become a woman – to withdraw her case against the Government that is pending before the European Court of Human Rights.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Times: France: gay marriage bill clears senate
Friday, April 12, 2013, 18:01 by PA

The French Senate voted today to legalise same-sex marriage in France, putting a landmark bill on track to become law by summer.

The vote in the upper house of Parliament - led by President Francois Hollande's Socialists - comes despite boisterous protests. Opponents, mostly conservatives and Roman Catholics, have sought to defend traditional marriage.

Independent: French Senate Passes Gay Marriage Bill
Friday, 12 April 2013, 12:49

The French Senate has voted to legalize same-sex marriage in France, putting a landmark bill on track to become law by summer.

The vote in the upper house of parliament — led by President Francois Hollande's Socialists — comes despite boisterous protests. Opponents — mostly conservatives and fervent Roman Catholics — have sought to defend traditional marriage.

Pink News: Argentina: Catholic priest expelled from church for supporting equal marriage
13 April 2013, by Joseph Patrick McCormick

Jose Nicholas Alessio was expelled from the Catholic church for his support of equal marriage
A Catholic priest in Argentina has been expelled from the church following an investigation after he voiced his support for equal marriage in the country.

The investigation into the priest, Jose Nicholas Alessio, was previously led by the new Pope, Francis, then known as Jorge Bergoglio, and then archbishop of Buenos Aires.

In 2010, Argentina’s Senate voted 33-27 to support a bill to legalise equal marriage. President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner supported the legislation, making Argentina the first Latin American country to allow same-sex marriage, and full adoption.

Malta Today: Uruguay Congress approves gay marriage bill

Uruguay Congress votes overwhelmingly to legalise gay marriage, second country in Latin America to do so after Argentina
Thursday 11 April 2013 - 09:10

Uruguay Congress during the vote on gay marriage

Congress in Uruguay has voted overwhelmingly to legalise gay marriage, becoming the second country in Latin America to do so, after Argentina.

The bill was approved by more than two-thirds of the lower chamber, despite opposition from the Catholic Church.

The proposal has already been backed by the upper house. It is expected to be signed into law within two weeks.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

TVM: Civil courts to be supreme on marriage laws

The 1992 Church-State agreement is to be revised. Following Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s statement that government was to move in this direction, when he paid a visit to the Arch Bishop Paul Cremona, the Foreign Office has issued a statement that the ball has been set rolling through a note verbale.

The government said that Malta’s Civil Courts should be supreme with regard to marriage laws. It was committed, however, to reach an agreement which would be satisfactory to both parties.

This was the reason why it was decided for the Foreign Ministry to write formally to the Holy See for negotiations to be initiated.

In 1992, the Holy See had secured an agreement with the Fenech Adami government that, Church annulment proceedings should supersede and halt civil annulment proceedings.

Times: ‘Schools’ key role against anti-gay bullying’
Tuesday, April 9, 2013 by Kristina Chetcuti

British psychotherapist Dominic Davies will be in Malta next month.

Schools have an important role to play in transmitting a very strong message against homophobic and transphobic bullying, according to a British psychotherapist.

Dominic Davies, founder and director of an internationally recognised gender and sexual diversity therapy organisation in the UK, said the message that bullying of this nature was unacceptable should be in school curriculums.

Times: Gay rights activists and topless protesters greet Vladimir Putin

Merkel expresses disagreement with the Russian clampdown on dissent
Tuesday, April 9, 2013 by Reuters

A demonstrator holds up a picture depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin with make-up, yesterday. Photo: Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin laughed off a protest against him by topless women in Germany yesterday, joking that he liked what he had seen, and was later greeted by gay rights protesters in Amsterdam.

Putin’s visit to Germany and the Netherlands, Moscow’s biggest trade partners in Europe was supposed to focus on trade but comes at an awkward time after a wave of state inspections of foreign-funded non-governmental organisations in Russia that has been much criticised abroad.

Pink News: Margaret Thatcher, a controversial figure on gay issues, dies aged 87
8 April 2013, 1:39pm by Joseph Patrick McCormick

Margaret Thatcher died of a stroke, aged 87

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who was a controversial figure in moves towards equality and who was hailed by some as a gay icon, including the artists Gilbert and George, died of a stroke this morning.

Despite some controversy around Section 28, which in 1987 banned the teaching or promotion of homosexuality and was passed under her government, Baroness Thatcher supported legalising homosexuality in the 1960s, in the face of fierce opposition from Tory traditionalists.

Times: Vienna shoots for gay travel market
Sunday, April 7, 2013 by Reuters

Vienna has joined a growing list of European cities seeking to attract lesbian and gay tourists who are expected to remain willing to spend on travel while other recession-hit travellers cut back.

City authorities in Vienna this month released a review of the Austrian capital’s gay and lesbian tourism strategy, deciding to focus on travellers interested in music, culture and history – and with money to spend.

L-Orizzont: Il-minoranza responsabbiltà tagħna wkoll
4.4.2013(?) minn Helena Dalli

Mhux dejjem ikun possibbli tinstab so­luzzjoni għat-tba­tija tan-nies. Ġieli jkun hemm lil hinn mill-kontroll ta’ min qiegħed jipprova jsib soluzzjoni għall-problemi li jkunu qegħdin jik­kawżaw it-tbatija. Jistgħu jkunu fatturi naturali, jew fatturi li ġew aċċidentalment jew inkella dawk maħluqin minn oħrajn stess jew miċ-ċirkostanzi.
Ma kienx hekk il-każ ta’ Joanne Cassar, il-persuna tran­sesswali li l-Gvern ta’ qabel ċaħdilha d-dritt li tiż­żewweġ. Kulma kien hemm bżonn kienet emenda għall-Att taż-Żwieġ. Però dan kien ħafna għall-Gvern Nazzjo­na­lista. Meta l-Qorti tat ra­ġun lil Joanne, minflok emenda l-liġi, il-Gvern appella.

Malta Today: Putin shrugs off German and Dutch protests

Russian President Vladimir Putin greeted by protests in Germany and Netherlands as he meets leaders of both nations for trade talks
Tuesday 9 April 2013 - 09:20

The female activists had bared their torsos, covered in anti-Putin slogans, and shouted "Putin dictator", while Russian President Vladimir Putin was touring the business fair with Chancellor Angela Merkel in the German city of Hanover on Thursday morning.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been greeted by protests in Germany and the Netherlands as he met the leaders of both nations for trade talks.

Hundreds of gay rights activists picketed outside his meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in Amsterdam.

Malta Today: Transgender marriage victory may lead to wider discussion on LGBT rights

Actual legal change proposed by the Labour administration will not have any direct bearing on same-sex couples hoping to one day achieve full marriage equality for themselves.
Sunday 7 April 2013 - 09:41 by Raphael Vassallo

Joanne Cassar's success in her seven-year legal battle for the right to marry a male partner - being herself a post-op transsexual whose reassigned gender was recognized by the State, at least on paper - represents a rare triumph in the ongoing struggle for full equality in LGBT areas.

But while Cassar's victory was welcomed with enthusiasm among Malta's gay community and beyond, the actual legal change proposed by the incoming administration will not have any direct bearing on same-sex couples hoping to one day achieve full marriage equality for themselves.

Independent: Reassigning transgender rights
Thursday, 04 April 2013, 08:33

Malta is at long last coming out of the dark woods it has inhabited for the last decades when it comes to the rights of homosexual and transgender rights, as evidenced by yesterday’s announcement that the previous administration’s fight against a transgender person’s right to marry has been dropped by the new government.

The country, as far as the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) people are concerned, has been a cultural backwater and this complete change of tack, including the foreseen introduction of full civil unions for same-sex couples, is moving the country upstream as far as civil liberties as a whole are concerned.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

President Abela's Speech on the Occasion of Opening the 12th Parliament


Mr Speaker,

Honourable members of the House of Representatives,

We have opened a new chapter in the history of this people. The time for pique, partisanship, arrogance in leadership, at all levels of administration, must become a part of the past. This will be a Government that looks towards building the future, rather than copying the past. This will be a Government which will lead with a sense of humility and will be ready to take decisions.

With the sign that it gave in the last general election the Maltese public has made it clear to all of us that it is tired of the politics of the past. It is a message to the political class and to all those who will form part of this administration and of this Parliament.

Sunday Circle: In her Shoes
April 2013

Joanne Cassar has courted public controversy in a highly publicised battle in the courts for her right to marry the man she loves. Here she speaks to Philip Leone-Ganado about her childhood struggles and her difficult journey to become the woman she always wanted to be.

As a small child, Joanne Cassar loved playing with dolls and spending time with girls her age. She had a nasty habit of injuring herself every time she played sports, and preferred following her mother, a greengrocer, to work, where she would pretend to set up shop and sell items herself. But many nights before bed, as she diligently thanked God for the day, she would cry herself to sleep, wondering why He had made her the way she was. The reason for her confusion was the very thing that set her apart from any other girl her age: Joanne is transsexual.

Times: Civil unions: a new legal status?
Thursday, April 4, 2013 by Max Ganado

We are moving towards a situation where we will have a law recognising civil unions governing a specific type of relationship between two people of different or even the same sex. The concept may bring within it even non-intimate relationships such as between siblings.

The direction, based on just expectations, appears to be one that will render this kind of union as close as possible to marriage but will not be marriage.

Times: Minister sets ball rolling for Civil Union Bill
Thursday, April 4, 2013 by Sarah Carabott

Civil Liberties Minister Helena Dalli (left) alongside Joanne Cassar. Photo: Paul Spiteri Lucas

A consultative committee to establish the best way forward for the introduction of civil unions will be set up, according to Civil Liberties Minister Helena Dalli.

The committee would include researchers and stakeholders from the LGBT community, including parents and NGOs who could provide the best advice on how to draft the Civil Union Bill, Dr Dalli explained.

Malta Today: Jubilation greets transsexual marriage announcement

MGRM and aditus foundation welcome the government’s decision to drop its objection to Joanne Cassar’s claim to the right to marry.
Wednesday 3 April 2013 - 15:00 by Raphael Vassallo

Joanne Cassar's right to marry brings to an end a seven-year ordeal.

News that government is to amend the Marriage Act - so that transsexuals may marry partners of their choice according to their 'acquired' gender - was greeted with jubilation and relief yesterday.

None, however, was quite as jubilant as Joanne Cassar: a post-op transsexual whose right to marry her long-term (male) partner became the subject of an unresolved seven-year legal wrangle, that ended up in the European Coiurt of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Independent: Transsexual to be granted right to marry
3.4.2013; Update 2

Minister Helena Dalli and Joanne Cassar

Joanne Cassar, a 31-year-old hairdresser who underwent gender reassignment surgery to become a woman, will be granted the right to marry. The announcement was made by Civil Liberties Minister Helena Dalli in the wake of the out of court settlement reached with Ms Cassar in recent days.

In 2011, Ms Cassar had instituted proceedings against government in the European Court of Human Rights, claiming breach of human rights.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Pink News: Malta: Transgender woman wins legal right to marry after government drops case
3 April 2013, 1:50pm by by Scott Roberts

Joanne Cassar began legal proceedings in 2011

Campaigners have welcomed a decision to allow a transgender woman in Malta the right to marry.

Joanne Cassar, a 31-year-old hairdresser, began legal proceedings in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in 2011 after she was prevented from marrying on the island.

Although the case is still pending in Strasbourg, on Wednesday, the Maltese Government dropped its objection to Ms Cassar’s claim.

Pink News: Uruguay: Equal marriage bill passes Senate and is ‘nearly certain’ to become law
3 April 2013, 12:09am by Joseph Patrick McCormick

The equal marriage bill is expected to be signed into law after passing Uruguay's Senate

The Uruguayan Senate today passed a bill which would allow gay and lesbian couples to marry, and which is expected to be approved and signed into law.

The bill to legalise same-sex marriage passed the Senate 23 votes to 8, and equal rights groups have said that it is “nearly certain” that Uruguay will become the next nation to allow equal marriage.

iNews Malta: Aġġornat: “Issa Malta għarfitni bħala t-tifla tagħha” - Joanne Cassar
10:18 | 03.04.2013

Joanne Cassar - li bl-emenda li se jressaq il-gvern fl-Att taż-Żwieġ issa se jkollha d-dritt li tiżewweġ mingħajr xkiel - qalet li issa hi wkoll tista’ tgħid li hi t-tifla ta’ Malta. “Issa Malta għarfitni bħala t-tifla tagħha,” qalet Joanne Cassar

Cassar tkellmet f’konferenza tal-aħbarijiet mal-Ministru Helena Dalli fejn tħabbru dawn il-bidliet. Dalli qalet li dawn il-bidliet se jkunu diskussi fil-parlament wara t-tieni ġimgħa mill-ftuħ tiegħu. Dan meta se titressaq emenda f’artiklu tmienja tal-att taż-żwieġ biex persuni li jkunu bidlu s-sess ma jsibux xkiel min-naħa tad-direttur tar-reġistru pubbliku biex jinħarġilhom iċ-ċertifikat.

MGRM & aditus: Joint Statement on Joanne Cassar case

3.4.2013 Press Release; 
Gabi Calleja (Malta Gay Rights Movement Coordinator)
Dr. Neil Falzon (aditus foundation Director)

The MGRM and aditus foundation welcome the Maltese Government's decision to drop its objection to Joanne Cassar's claim to the right to marry.

The case of Joanne Cassar versus Malta is currently pending before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, where she is claiming that when Malta prevented her from marrying her fiancée, her fundamental human rights were violated.

Times: Updated: Committee to establish way forward for civil unions being set up

Joanne Cassar welcomes changes to Marriage law after general reassignment case
Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 10:18

[Click on the hyperlink above to watch the video.]

A consultative committee is to be set up shortly to establish the best way forward for the introduction of civil unions, Civil Liberties Minister Helena Dalli said this morning.

The minister said civil unions were promised in Labour’s electoral programme and the committee will include stakeholders, such as LGBT people, their parents and researchers.

Malta Today: Government to amend Marriage Act for transgender people

Government reaches out of court settlement for Joanne Cassar
National Wednesday 3 April 2013 - 10:14

Government has reached an out of court agreement with Joanne Cassar over her preclusion from marrying as a transgender
Government has reached an agreement with Joanne Cassar to drop proceedings in the European Court of Human Rights against the Maltese government over her preclusion from marrying.

Cassar was recognised by the state as a woman after gender reassignment, but she was not allowed to marry under Maltese laws.

Malta Today: Government hours away from agreement on transsexual marriage rights

An agreement between government and Joanne Cassar is understood to be “imminent” following several meetings between the two sides.
Tuesday 2 April 2013 - 13:16 by Raphael Vassallo

Joanne Cassar

An agreement between government and Joanne Cassar - the aggrieved party in a European court case against Malta over the rights of transsexual persons to marry according to their reassigned gender - is understood to be "imminent" following several meetings between the two sides.

Cassar filed a case against Malta in the European Court of Human Rights, after unsuccessfully suing the Registrar of Marriages for refusing to issue the banns necessary for her to marry her long-term (male) partner.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Times: US Supreme Court may strike down marriage law

Polls show growing support for gay couples
Thursday, March 28, 2013 by Reuters

A supporter of traditional marriage rallies in front of the Supreme Court in Washington yesterday. Photo: Reuters

A majority of US Supreme Court justices yesterday indicated they could be inclined to strike down a law that denies federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples, a move that would reflect the evolving nationwide sea change in attitudes to gay marriage.

As a packed courtroom listened attentively on a second day of arguments on gay marriage, Justice Anthony Kennedy, a potential swing vote, warned of a “real risk” that the Defence of Marriage Act (Doma) infringes on the traditional role of the states in defining marriage.

Malta Today: Gay marriage: Supreme Court justices criticise Defense of Marriage Act

A US law that defines marriage as between man and woman only sharply criticised by Supreme Court justices at landmark hearing
Thursday 28 March 2013 - 09:27

A US law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman only has been sharply criticised by Supreme Court justices at a landmark hearing.

A judge considered the court's swing vote joined four liberal colleagues in questioning the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Legal analysts speculated that the law, which denies various federal benefits to gay couples, may be struck down.