Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Times: Muscat: 'PN's commitment on civil unions questionable'
Tuesday, October 22, 2013, 20:40

Amendments to the civil union bill which will be moved by the Opposition could only be interpreted as an attempt to limit the rights of same-sex couples, Prime Minister Joseph said this evneing.

Addressing the annual general conference of the Labour Youth Forum at the party headquarters, Dr Muscat questioned whether the PN is genuinely committed in favour of civil unions.

The Prime Minister said that today was a historic day for minority rights, as Parliament started to debate the second reading of the civil unions bill. He said that in a matter of months Malta has shifted from an archaic state entrenched in conservative ideas to a mainstream European state embracing equality.

The Prime Minister said that this was of great relevance considering that up to a couple of years ago, even divorce was not yet available in Malta.

Regarding the issue of adoptions by same-sex couples, he said that his overriding principle was to decide in the best interest of the child.

Dr Muscat said that the PN was being driven solely by populism and at times it was contradicting itself. He said that tomorrow (Wednesday) parliament would start debating constitutional amendments moved by the Opposition to entrench a clause against any forms of discrimination based on gender, when at the same time the PN was against granting equal rights to same-sex couples.

In his speech the Prime Minister drew parallels with the decision to grant universal suffrage in 1947 and to the decriminalisation of homosexuality 40 years ago. He said that throughout its history the Labour Party was at the forefront to promote equality even though it faced stiff opposition from conservative forces such as the PN.

Dr Muscat said that history was repeating itself as elements within the PN were trying to instil fears against civil unions, in the same manner as they did at the time of the debate on the introduction of divorce.

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