Tuesday, October 22, 2013, 20:33
Opposition leader Simon Busuttil said in Parliament this evening that he was proud of the position adopted by the Nationalist Party yesterday in favour of a law on civil unions.
He said the decision was a step forward from the past, when, maybe, not enough was done in this sector by the party. However the PN too had promised recognition of civil partnerships.
Dr Busuttil said in Parliament that the Opposition had had no time to finalise the amendments it planned to move to the government’s Bill.
However, he noted, one of the amendments which needed to be made was over how the law on marriage (also applicable to the new law) made reference to religious marriages. It was evident that religious marriage could not apply to civil unions and therefore matters such as this needed to be clarified.
What the Opposition was after was a law that was clear and did not cause confusion.
Dr Busuttil regretted that the government had not consulted the Opposition on this Bill. It was incredible that the minister had said that the Opposition had had no right to be consulted.
Interjecting, the minister, Helena Dalli, said the PN had no LGBT association.
Dr Busuttil said it was shameful that the government had not invited the Opposition or the PN to be represented on the consultative council, despite having invited the PL and the AD. That the minister said the decision was taken because it had no LGBT section did not hold water. The minister could not decide what sections the PN should have. If anything, the first openly gay MP sat on the Nationalist benches.
Dr Busuttil reiterated that the Opposition would seek consensus on the amendments it planned to move.
The bill was moved earlier by Public Dialogue Minister Helena Dalli who said this was not just a bill on gay rights, but a bill for human rights and equality.
This, she said, was a bill to end discrimination against a minority in its population.
Referring to the position of the Church, Dr Dalli said the Church had a right to its opinion, but this bill was about a civil matter.
The PN, she said, had a poor record in this sector as shown by the criticism by the gay community of the cohabitation bill which the former government had proposed and the case of a transgender person- Joanne Cassar - who was not allowed to marry and was made to go through ‘hell’.