Monday, 31 March 2014

Independent: ‘Nationalists often mistake me for a Labourite’ – Norman Vella
Monday, 31 March 2014, 11:00 , by Jacob Borg

Former journalist and European Parliament hopeful Norman Vella is adamant that he always did his duty as a presenter on PBS, and was never formally accused of bias towards the then Nationalist government.

Mr Vella refutes claims that he popping up on the PN’s list of MEP candidates further confirms this perceived bias.

“I was never accused of being biased. There was a campaign by those close to the Labour Party, but it is not campaigns that count but facts, and the fact is that they never formally complained about my work. I always used journalism to be a voice of the people, I always tried to push the agenda of the people.

Independent: Elton John to have 'quiet' wedding with partner
Monday, 31 March 2014, 15:10

Elton John and his partner David Furnish are planning a low-profile wedding in May, following a change in British law allowing gay marriages.

The singer told NBC's Today show that he wants to celebrate "very quietly," and added: "It will be a joyous occasion and we will have our children."

Saturday, 29 March 2014

BBC News: Same-sex marriage now legal as first couples wed

[Click here to watch the video.]

Peter McGraith and David Cabreza, John Coffey and Bernardo Marti, and Andrew Wale and Neil Allard were among the first gay couples to marry

Related Stories

The first same-sex weddings have taken place after gay marriage became legal in England and Wales at midnight.
Politicians from the main parties have hailed the change in the law.
David Cameron said the move sent a message that people were now equal "whether gay or straight", but some religious groups remain opposed.
Scotland passed a similar law in February; the first same-sex marriages are expected there in October. Northern Ireland has no plans to follow suit.
In an article for the Pink News website, the prime minister wrote: "This weekend is an important moment for our country.
'Feels safer'

Times: Ex-presidents agree with George Abela’s stance against signing the Civil Unions Bill

‘He shouldn’t sign the Bill if it goes against his conscience’
Friday, March 28, 2014, 07:01 by Ivan Camilleri

Dr Abela greets Ugo Mifsud Bonnici.

Two former presidents stood up for George Abela over his decision not to sign the Civil Unions Bill, saying they would probably have resigned if asked to sign a law that went against their principles.

Ugo Mifsud Bonnici and Eddie Fenech Adami were asked their opinions following the revelation by Times of Malta yesterday that President Abela had signalled to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat he was not willing to sign the Bill into law on “moral grounds”.

Malta Today: Kenyan MP likens homosexuality to terrorism

Top Kenyan MP Aden Duale says homosexuality should be treated like "any other social evil"
28 March 2014, 8:28am

Kenyan MPs are calling for homosexuality to be banned like Uganda did recently

Homosexuality in Kenya is as bad a problem as terrorism, the ruling party's parliamentary leader said, but argued against stepping up legal sanctions on the grounds that existing laws were tough enough.

Aden Duale, the majority leader from President Uhuru Kenyatta's ruling Jubilee coalition, was responding on Wednesday to a group of MPs demanding tougher laws.

Malta Today: [WATCH] Civil unions ‘on track’ despite President’s ‘moral objections’

Prime Minister does not deny press reports that President George Abela is refusing to sign the civil unions bill, now on hold for the past five weeks.
27 March 2014, 11:15am by Jurgen Balzan

Joseph Muscat - [Click on the hyperlink above to watch the video.]

Joseph Muscat - President's objections to civil union bill

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has refused to confirm reports that President of the Republic George Abela will not sign a civil unions bill due to his moral objections.

Muscat today said the bill will be enacted into law "as programmed" after it had passed through the main legislative stages, even though the bill has actually been on hold for five weeks.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Times: Updated - PM silent as President refuses to sign Civil Unions Bill
Thursday, March 27, 2014, 07:12

The Prime Minister this morning refused to comment on the President's position against the Civil Unions Bill, stating that whatever he discussed with the President was confidential.

However he said there was no problem with the Bill and it would be approved by Parliament soon.

Times of Malta reported this morning that the government had postponed the final approval of the Civil Unions Bill as the President had informally told Dr Muscat that he was not willing to sign it into law.

Independent: George Abela will notsign gay marriage bill;PM says talkswith President 'private'
Thursday, 27 March 2014, 08:50, UPDATE 1

The government’s plans to introduce the civil unions bill which includes the possibility of gay adoptions have been stalled because President George Abela has told Prime Minister Joseph Muscat that he does not want to sign it.
When Dr Abela met people undergoing rehabilitation for drug abuse at San Blas on Wednesday evening, The Malta Independent approached President Abela for a confirmation of reports reaching our newsroom but President Abela did not want to comment. Dr Abela was visibly uncomfortable when questions on the civil union bill were put to him.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

YouTube: L-Ewwel Sena fil-Gvern [Hon. Dr Joseph Muscat]

[Mur f'10:10 biex tara s-sezzjoni dwar l-Unjoni Ċivili]

Times: Homophobia in Uganda
Friday, March 21, 2014, 00:01 by John Guillaumier, St Julian’s

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signs the anti-homosexual Bill into law . Photo: James Akena/Reuters.

Uganda’s President, Yoweri Museveni, called homosexuals “mercenaries” and “prostitutes” as he signed legislation setting harsh penalties against them, including long-term jail sentences.

Navi Pillay, the top United Nations human rights official, said in a statement at Geneva: “This law will institutionalise discrimination and is likely to encourage harassment and violence against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation.”

Independent: Church teachings and homosexuality
Sunday, 16 March 2014, 08:00 by Vincent Mercieca, San Gwann

I am an ordinary Maltese citizen and a practising Catholic. I am not a member of any religious group, so I hope I will not be accused of representing the Church like the bishops are when they speak about the laws of God, and also that I am interfering in local politics. Actually, I have every right to my political view as every Tom, Dick and Harry.

I am expressing my thoughts on the matter of our civil unions and the political correctness of homosexuality; LGBT or whatever name it is given. Some may agree with me; others will surely criticise me and bring arguments to attack my thoughts. As for myself, I do not care what people say, I am passing on a message and those who have ears to hear and eyes to see will hear and see, and those who want to close their eyes and ears are free to do so.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Independent: Uganda ‘kill the gay bill’, ‘Come Out’ pledge top MEP candidates’ debate at University

PM's push back attempt further instigated racism - Cassola
Wednesday, 12 March 2014, 13:40

Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gay Bill’ campaign topped the MEP candidates’ discussion held at University Quadrangle today where PN, PL and AD candidates gave their views on the controversial issue which surrounds Uganda’s decision to imprison homosexuals while also giving their take on the gay rights pledge known as the ‘Come Out’ pledge.

Today’s event was organised by Insite, the student media organisation and the Grupp Universitarji Ghawdxin (GUG) as part of the European Parliament’s office in Malta campaign.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Times: Why?
Saturday, March 8, 2014, 09:00 by Alison Bezzina

It’s no secret that during the last general elections I came very close to voting PL but ultimately voted AD. Before that I always voted for PN, and hand on heart there’s no telling whom I’ll vote for in the future.

Because of my way of voting, and because most voters in Malta don’t understand the concept of being a free-thinking floater, capable of changing my mind every time, I’ve been accused (among other things) of lacking loyalty, of being easily manipulated and, of not having strong principles. I’ve heard it all but nothing sticks and, come next election, I’ll do the same - I’ll study and research all the important issues, and once again decide whom to vote for with no promise of a repeat for the future. That’s what works for me because parties change, people within them change, and as time goes by, you find out things about them you never knew.

Times: Cagliari take stand against homophobia
Friday, March 7, 2014, 00:01

Serie A team Cagliari, led by midfielder Daniele Dessena, are taking on entrenched homophobia in Italian soccer by wearing rainbow coloured laces in their boots to express solidarity with gay people.

Dessena joined a campaign promoted by gay rights groups when he donned the multi-coloured laces at the San Siro against Inter on Feb. 23.

Struggling Cagliari managed a 1-1 draw with their rivals, but Dessena was the target of homophobic abuse from many of the Sardinian team’s own fans.

Times: Straight gay ponderings
Thursday, March 6, 2014, 00:01 by Christopher Bezzina
Jiena Nħobb Inti Tħobb reveals the writer’s perception of what the gay world is all about from a straight point of view. Photo: Mario Mintoff/PhotoCity
Jiena Nħobb Inti Tħobb reveals the writer’s perception of what the gay world is all about from a straight point of view. Photo: Mario Mintoff/PhotoCity
What makes a theatre production a successful one? My perspective is that it all depends on how much the production reflects what lies beyond the stage.
Amid the script’s puns and the professional acting, Jiena Nħobb Inti Tħobb efficaciously captures the gay multifaceted reality. The comical pre-objections on the production have aided to draw an intensified backing, so I convey my thanks to those involved in the dissent for making this production an even more popular one.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Times: Uganda’s anti-gay laws ‘blown out of proportion’ – High Commissioner
Thursday, March 6, 2014, 15:18 by Patrick Cooke

Video: Mark Zammit Cordina [Click on the hyperlink above to watch the video.]

Uganda’s strong anti-gay laws have been “blown out of proportion” in the West, new High Commissioner Dinah Grace Akello said this morning.

The new High Commissioner was asked by about the laws after presenting her letters of credence to President George Abela at the Palace in Valletta.

Independent: A letter to my son - To be read on 12 February 2020
Sunday, 02 March 2014, 09:00 , by Alison Bezzina

Dear Son,

Please put down your 5D video game and any other electronic device you might be attached to at this moment and read this. It will only take a few minutes, I promise.

It’s your birthday today and I can’t believe how time is flying by and how fast you’re growing up. No matter how old you are or how quickly you grow out of your shoes, you’ll always be my angel and I’ll always love you more than words can say.

Every birthday you ask me to tell you the story of how I met your mother, and every year I tell you that I met her at a party where we both got a little drunk, that it was love at first sight and that we then lived happily ever after.

All Out: Uganda Update


Ugandan newspaper is terrifying lesbian, bi, gay and trans people by printing their names and photos.

Big corporations like Orange are advertising in the paper -- sign the petition asking them to pull their ads now.
‘Exposed! Uganda’s Top 200 Homos’ -- A newspaper in Uganda is now revealing the identities of gay, lesbian, bi and trans people. It’s terrifying and could lead to arrests or vigilante killings.
Here’s the thing: major global corporations like Orange are actually advertising in this newspaper. If we can get Orange to pull their adverts, that could make the editor think twice about running “gay exposés”.  
If tens of thousands of us sign the petition, we can show Orange that they are suddenly in danger of becoming known as an “anti-gay” brand in more than 100 countries, if they don’t pull these adverts in just 1 country.
Can you sign the petition?
If the petition grows fast, the office team will talk to journalists who’ve reported about Uganda’s anti-gay law recently, and ask them to write stories about Orange’s gay hate connection. We think they’ll be interested.
Those kind of stories will ring alarm bells at the Orange PR department - it could be enough to get a quick decision to pull these ads.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Times: President-designate would have no problem signing Civil Unions Bill
Wednesday, March 5, 2014, 11:37 by Matthew Xuereb

Video: Mark Zammit Cordina [Click on the hyperlink above to watch the video.]

President-designate Marie-Louise Colerio Preca will have “no problem” signing the Civil Unions Bill which, among others, will be giving same-sex couples the right to adopt children.

Speaking to this morning, Ms Coleiro Preca labelled as “pure speculation” the fact that she would be reluctant to sign the Bill once it came to her as President.

“I was part of the Cabinet that approved that Bill and I know that it was an electoral commitment made by this government prior to the election so I will have no problem signing the Bill,” she said.

She went on to explain that the so-called gay adoptions issue was nothing new as gay people could adopt at present. Moreover, it would be the professionals who would be deciding what was in the children’s best interest.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Independent: Doubts on whether new President will sign gay marriage bill
Tuesday, 04 March 2014, 10:00

One of the first major acts of soon-to-be President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca may very well be the signing of the ‘gay marriage’ bill, which will include the opening up of child adoptions to gay couples, one of the poster initiatives of the Labour government in its drive to offer equal rights to all.

Doubts exist as to whether Ms Coleiro Preca will sign the ‘gay marriage’ bill into law without putting up a fight. Her stand against divorce three years ago put her as being among the more conservative and traditional exponents of a Labour Party that was being pushed by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat towards liberal and progressive stands.

All Out: The anti-gay law no one is talking about [Nigeria]

Crisis in Nigeria: Men accused of being gay have been whipped in courtrooms and jailed, while angry mobs protest outside, shouting for them to be stoned to death.
Will you stand with Nigerians to oppose a new anti-gay law and end the violence?
On Thursday, 14 men were dragged from their homes by a mob, accusing them of being gay. Four of them were then attacked by police. Dozens of gay men have been arrested across Nigeria after a new anti-gay law passed weeks ago.
But brave Nigerians at home and abroad are standing up against this crack down – and they’re asking for help from people around the world.
A group of Nigerians have launched their own petition on the All Out website, and are asking each of us to add our names to help end the arrests and stop the mob violence.
Can you show you stand with them by adding your name?
There's a lot that could be done to affect Nigeria's new anti-gay law. But it all starts here, by getting the attention of the Nigerian Government and all of it's officials. So far, they've managed to avoid any major criticism! Their blind-eye towards brutal violence has been overshadowed.

Independent: Distinguishing mark
Sunday, 02 March 2014, 09:00 , by Charles Flores

At a time when ideological differences continue to become an ever-narrowing gap, with the Left going Right, the Right going Left and the Centre becoming common, convenient territory for all, there is still one particular distinguishing mark that has made an opportune appearance. Here in Malta, it is in how the parties view minority rights.

The divorce referendum is recent enough to cite as a glaring example of how the two major parties have shown, and seem set to continue showing, that they are miles apart when it comes to such rights. That Labour’s yes to divorce was so forcefully backed by a huge majority was already an indication that a shift in Maltese society was taking place without the then GonziPN government even noticing. It was, incredibly, an exact repeat of Labour’s previous failure to read the writing on the wall after the 2003 EU referendum, which result was followed by an electoral defeat soon after.

The divergence between the parties on the issue of minority rights, however, persists, much to the irritation of what I believe is a majority of people on these islands who sincerely hope not only that the whole issue is buried once and for all, but for this nation to finally be on a par with the rest of Europe and most of the Western world.

The hiccups continued last week during Minister Helena Dalli’s appointment with the public in the highly successful “Gvern li Jisma’” series when the meeting was discussing comments and questions on the civil union law being debated at committee stage in Parliament. It was obvious, however, that the Minister was speaking from a position of strength. Her sterling work in the field of minority rights over the past few months has been rightly recognised by many. After all, it is a reflection of the still-fresh Labour administration’s electoral pledge, supported by one of the strongest electoral majorities ever to be achieved in the history of Maltese politics.

It certainly looks like this highly visible distinguishing mark is going to continue featuring prominently as the Maltese people warm to the brave idea that minority rights actually mean rights for people from all walks of life, for loved ones and family members, for kindness, as one social worker declared in his intervention during Dr Dalli’s meeting, and for a free and genuinely considerate society.

Minority rights are not restricted to the LGBT scene. They also refer to people, hard-working men and women, living in cohabitation where, as in the case of straightforward marriages, stories of love, rejection, and other problems abound so society still has the duty to offer cover and protection wherever and whenever needed. Women especially have to face situations where they find themselves abandoned and denied what other women, because they choose to marry in the formal, traditional way, get from the state. Not anymore, however.

It is why it is also annoying to hear the very president of the National Council of Women actually coming out against a civil union law when it will no doubt offer help and protection to women on the LGBT front. Thankfully, her counterpart from the Malta Gay Rights Movement, Gabi Calleja, quickly put her in her place.

[The article deals with other matters which are not related to LGBT issues. You can read the entire article here.]

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Times: Say no to the persecution of gay persons
Friday, February 28, 2014, 11:18 by Fr Joe Borg

Last Monday, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed a law that reinforced the already severe laws against gays in that African country. Jail sentences for life are now obligatory for those who have gay sex. The law also prohibits what it considers to be the “promotion” of homosexuality. Being gay is already outlawed in the country.

This homophobic attitude of the Ugandan government has reached such obscenely incredible heights that harsh international condemnation and punitive actions are a duty. But punitive actions have to be such as not to harm the vulnerable. One should learn a lesson or two from the results of the embargo mandated against the Saddam regime. It did not bring the regime down. Neither did it discomfort in any way Saddam or his cronies. But it did cause a lot of suffering to innocent people.

All Out: After Sochi

Russia’s Olympics are over. We’ve achieved a lot together – but there’s so much happening around the world. Can you help shape our campaigns?
Take the poll >>
Andre here. Russia's Olympics Games are over – and wow – we achieved a lot together. We made sure that no lesbian, gay, bi or trans people in Russia stood up alone against the anti-gay laws, and we helped get US national sponsors to speak out.
And now the Olympic Committee has replied to our demand that countries with anti-gay laws shouldn't be allowed to host the Games in future. They said they're open to changing the rules!
But Russia's anti-gay law remains in place for now. And we're seeing new and dangerous crises in other parts of the world, as Uganda and Nigeria have passed awful new anti-gay laws.
This is an important moment to help decide what our biggest priorities should be now – and how to go about it. Can you help shape All Out's campaigns?
Click here to take the short 5-question poll:
Just months ago, there was no evidence that the Olympic Committee, world leaders, or the directors of major corporations had thought much about Russia's anti-gay laws.