Thursday, 26 December 2013

Malta Today: PN proposes removal of adoption clause from civil union bill

Civil Unions bill should not include legislative provisions on adoption, PN secretary-general Chris Said says
Wednesday 11 December 2013 - 23:18 by Jurgen Balzan

The Nationalist Party tonight said that it backed the civil unions bill with MP and secretary-general Chris Said saying that despite having been ignored by the government when the law was drafted, the opposition is committed to give the country the best possible legislation.

Said explained that the amendments being presented by the Opposition are two pronged, with some of the amendemnts aimed at making a clear distiction between marriage and civil unions and the rest of the amendemnts aimed removing all references to adoption from the bill.

On making a clear distintion between marriage and civil unions, Said pointed out that "One is not better than the other but the two laws are seperate. We should find agreement on this because it reflects what both parties promised in their electoral programmes."

The Nationalist MP added that the marriage law does not make any reference to adoptions and the same should apply for the civil unions bill. Calling for consensus, Said said that the both sides should agree on this because "we all have childrens' interests first and foremost."

In reaction to Said's speech, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that the Opposition had made a u-turn on its previous position on adoptions, saying that the PN's call for a social impact assessment on adoptions by gay couples did not make sense.

Muscat accused the Opposition was adamantly opposewd to adoptions bt gay couples.

While suggesting that Parliament's social affairs committee should carry out a social impact study on the adoption of children by same sex couples, Said said that adoptions should only be regulated by the adoption act.

"We believe that legal provisions on adoption should not be included in this bill on civil unions. In fact there are no provisions on adoption in the Marriage Act. The natural place where this should be addressed is the Law on Adoptions."

He added that this was being proposed for a very clear reason, "because the civil union law and the marriage law are centred around couples."

On the other hand, adoption is not about couples, but about children's' rights, Said said.

"Adoption concerns the safeguarding of children's rights. Adoption is not concerned with safeguarding the couple's rights but the children's wellbeing. Adoption is not the couple's right but the children's right."

He said that any changes to adoptions should be carried out by amending the adoption law and not the civil union bill.

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