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Nationalists leave gay vote waiting for answers to MGRM questions

Labour will not allow sperm donation and access to gay parents to IVF services.

Matthew Vella
2 March 2013, 12:00am


They kick-started their campaign with an emblem that mimicked the hues of Maltese diversity, inviting voters to - Lawrence Gonzi's words - "feel welcome, whatever their lifestyle, their colour, or their sexual orientation... we're the party that believed in the freedom of expression, and for whom diversity will be the main ingredient in its policies."

FULL position paper and questionnaire [OPENS PDF]

So it's with some surprise that the Malta Gay Rights Movement's questionnaire was left without answers by the PN's campaign team - a sign that it's not the dearth of proposals that is wrong here, but the PN's lacklustre speed at giving the pink vote some answers.

Labour and AD on the other hand ticked yes to the MGRM's calls for gender identity laws, anti-discrimination laws, and equality. Their divergences are squarely on gay marriage, which Labour does not support; and IVF, which Labour will not amend to allow the donation of third-party gametes or grant gay people access to IVF.

In a statement, the MGRM paid tribute to important changes for Malta's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people since 1973, when the law criminalising sodomy was repealed. These also included the transposition of the EU's Employment Framework and Freedom of Movement Directives; the amendment to the Criminal Code regulating hate crimes, extending the scope of the law to include sexual orientation and gender identity and the extension of the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality (NCPE) remit to include these grounds.

Also recently, the Civil Code allowed for the change in name and gender annotations in official documents of post-operative transgender persons.

"These have given LGBT people some of the basic legal rights and protections that other people have long taken for granted. However, LGBT people continue to face prejudice and discrimination on a regular basis and in a number of spheres," the MGRM said.

The movement said it wants a comprehensive Gender Identity Bill that would facilitate the gender recognition of transgender persons irrespective of whether they have undergone gender reassignment surgery and which would ensure that such recognition had effect on all spheres of life including marriage.

It also called for immediate steps to counter the discrimination faced by young LGBT people and young people within LGBT families, ensuring policies provide adequate protection for students, staff and teachers of different sexual orientations and gender identities against all forms of social exclusion within the school environment, including bullying and harassment.

The MGRM also said the government should provide equal rights and recognition at par with marriage to same-sex couples by taking all necessary legislative, administrative and other measures to ensure that any right, obligation, entitlement, privilege or benefit available to different-sex partners is equally available to same-sex unmarried partners.
Matthew Vella is editor of MaltaToday.com.mt.

After graduating in a...

Joseph Grech-Attard
Hunters already passed through a similar saga with the PN and GonziPN. They do not commit themselves to what the MGRM is asking. They can only try to persuade with behind the scenes or amniguous affirmations. We have been through a plague of confusions with the Divorce Bill. The MGRM's identity laws will remain on the shelf! Only during election time the Nationalists try to show the end of a tunnel. Once there they shall retreat.
Glor Findel
No surprise there! ... Anyone who has seen PN actions should by now know that LGBT issues are not in their heart. Since 1998 they have been promising the introduction of laws to help LGBT and what happened? A BIG NOTHING!!! ... When asked why nothing was done, GO-nzi's reply was 'there was not enough time'. I can assure all LGBT people that PN will still not have time even in another 15 years! ... It is time for LGBT persons to join their brothers and sisters around the world and make their vote count! ... Do not forget who decriminalized homosexuality in Malta in the '70s ... Do not forget that Joseph Muscat has been openly talking about LGBT issues in the last year and thus mainstreamed a subject that had long been tabu in Catholic Malta. ... No LGBT person, their friends, families or those whom they hold dear, can even contemplate voting PN, because their reward will AGAIN BE A BIG NOTHING!
Katya Glanville Vella
I guess that everyone remembers Austin Gatt's reaction when people voted for divorce, how he exclaimed - the horror- that gay marriage would soon ensue! (We all remember the photo with that article which seemed to tell us "Look what't you've brought upon us now!")We are also very much aware that Dr. Gatt was voicing the opinion of many in the PN. LGBT rights only started being voiced by the PN at the beginning of this campaign so this definitely comes as a surprise to no one.