Thursday, 26 December 2013

Times: No compromises when it comes to basic principles - PM
Wednesday, December 11, 2013, 21:08

The Opposition’s call for a social impact assessment on adoptions by gay couples did not make sense and the government’s proposal was superior in that every case would be considered on its own merits by social workers, psychologists and other experts, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said this evening.

Speaking in Parliament, he accused the Opposition doing a U-turn pointed out that two months before the election he had publicly told Times of Maltahe was in favour of gay adoptions.

Two days later, then Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said practically the same thing. And six days later the PN said that it was ready to amend the law to allow gay couples to adopt if this was in the best interest of the child.

However, the PN had now changed its position and was coming all out against gay couples adopting.

Dr Muscat said there was no automatic right to adoption, only a right to apply for adoption. Up till now only married couples and individuals could apply. The Bill would make same sex couples also eligible to apply.

He pointed out that, unofficially, same sex couples were already adopting children.

"Is this the way the PN wants to protect children’s rights? By making their parents lie to the system," he asked

Dr Muscat underlined in the most emphatic terms that he would not compromise on his principles. The PL electoral manifesto was always clear, and he had always spoken openly that if elected, a Labour government would introduce civil unions.

“We had even assured the gay rights movement that civil unions would be considered equal to marriage,” he said.

This was a courageous move, based on what one believed in – a belief in civil rights. Just like he had stated during the debate on the introduction of divorce, Dr Muscat reiterated that he would continue to speak up on equal rights for gay couples, even if he had to stand alone.

He said he believed in heading for a more liberal direction, based on the principles of equality. It seemed from the proposals which had been put forward by Dr Said, that there was a lack of agreement within the PN on which faction they should please.

But when it came to certain basic principles there should be no compromises.

The Oppostion’s proposals, he said, did not hold water since what the government was proposing went beyond social impact assessments. The point was of what one believed in and not of surveys. Rights should be enjoyed even by one citizen.

The Prime Minister said his government was ready to arrive at a consensus but it was not ready to compromise on principles because the basic principle in this case was that there would be no discrimination on the basis of sex.

Dr Muscat said he was ready to consider only changes to technical details of the Bill in committee stage.

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