Saturday, 20 July 2013

Malta Today: Prime Minister receives Soldier Award for supporting gay rights

First draft civil union bill to be discussed on Thursday within the LGBT consultative council.
Tuesday 18 June 2013 - 15:52 by Miriam Dalli

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat 'winner' of this year's Soldier Award.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat was today awarded the Soldier Award for supporting the gay community.

This award was previously given to now Education Minister Evarist Bartolo last year and MGRM coordinator Gabi Calleja in 2011.

Receiving this year's Gay Exiles' Soldier Award, a somewhat beaming Muscat said he "generally was not a fan of awards" but heartily welcomed this one.

Muscat said the government was committed in honouring commitments made during the electoral campaign.

"Starting by granting Joanne Cassar the right to marry was the least thing we could do. There are several other commitments which we plan on honouring," he said.

The Prime Minister said many had thought the government would be delaying the civil union bill and placing it on the backburner.

"But our plan is to present it in parliament and approve it as law by the end of this year," he said.

MaltaToday is informed that the LGBT consultative council will be discussing the first draft bill on civil unions next Thursday.

The Prime Minister was presented with the award during a reception at Auberge de Castille. The reception was attended to by Alternattiva Demokratika, the Malta Gay Rights Movement, LGBT Labour, students group We are, members of the consultative council set u by government and other gay rights activists.

'Equality shouldn't be restricted to gay community' - aditus

Human rights NGO aditus foundation called on society to recognise that equality was not simply a gay issue, but "a human issue which should apply to all".

The foundation, which sits on the consultative council, expressed its satisfaction of the progress made on the proposed legislation for civil unions.

"Just a few day ago, we presented our first draft of the bill," aditus chairman Neil Falzon told MaltaToday.

He however took the opportunity to highlight that the same solidarity being shown to the LGBTI community should also be shown with others.

"The same solidarity should be shown with other excluded members of society, primarily migrants and refugees. Equality is not a gay issue. It's a human issue and should be applied to all," he said.

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