Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Malta Today: ‘Don’t touch our rights’, gay lobby tells Busuttil over civil unions’ amendments

Gay lobby’s stark warning to PN in rowdy meeting over civil unions’ bill
Monday 18 November 2013 - 09:46

Simon Busuttil has been warned by gay rights’ groups that attempts to dilute the civil unions’ bill to pacify PN voters will further endanger the party’s frayed relationship with the gay vote

A rowdy meeting between Opposition leader Simon Busuttil and the gay lobby turned sour this week, when the PN informed them they would be pushing amendments to the civil unions' bill without divulging what the amendments will be.

Busuttil met Malta Gay Rights Movement coordinator Gabi Calleja and human rights lawyer Neil Falzon, of Aditus Foundation, who authored the civil unions' bill; together with PN equality spokesperson Claudette Buttigieg and MEP candidate Therese Commodini Cachia.

A PN source described the outcome of the meeting as "nothing short of disastrous".

"The party wants to amend the law but didn't want to explain exactly what these changes will be. They had to fend off accusations that they are going to dilute the bill, and the meeting ended on a sour note. There was a good deal of shouting," the party source said.

Contacted yesterday, Gabi Calleja confirmed the meeting they had at the PN offices but refrained from commenting on MaltaToday's account of the disagreements between the two sides. "They did not present any tangible amendments... there was nothing concrete and it is still unclear what kind of amendments they will present." she said.

MaltaToday was told by other sources that Busuttil and Buttigieg were at pains to explain that the PN had to show their own conservative electorate they were treading carefully on the civil unions' bill.

"It was a bad meeting. The gay lobby was actually warning them not to touch anything that would dilute the rights in the law, and told them off for having already lost the gay vote entirely.

"At one point, the MPs were trying to explain that they had a conservative electorate to respect. They were told in no uncertain terms that any amendments that touched the rights in the law would be met by a public statement against the Opposition," the party source told MaltaToday.

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