PN youths: No rollback on marriage equality

PN's youth section petitioning the party to include full marriage equality in its manifesto 

The Nationalist Party will not roll back any civil liberties bestowed in the last four years, with the PN’s youth wing (MZPN) insisting that it is petitioning the party to include full marriage equality in its manifesto.

An MZPN spokesperson told MaltaToday it had included full marriage equality in its youth electoral manifesto it had finalised for the PN.

“The youth wing has been putting its final touches on the electoral programme following the announcement by PN leader Simon Busuttil that the party will put forward an electoral programme specifically addressed to and compiled with youths from all social backgrounds,” the spokesperson said.

Civil unions were introduced in Malta by the Labour government in 2014, an electoral promise that swayed the gay vote towards the PL at the time. At the time the PN had chosen to abstain on the parliamentary vote, with Opposition leader Simon Busuttil citing concerns that it would pave the way for gay adoptions, something he felt was not representative of what the majority wanted.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat now has said he will introduce full marriage equality if Labour is returned to power.

PN youths insist on full marriage equality in party manifesto

The MZPN said that since 2014, Malta’s civil unions law has given same-sex couples the same rights and obligations as marriage. “Calling civil union by its real name – marriage – is the logical thing to do,” the MZPN spokesperson said.

“The PN will support this proposal and party leader Simon Busuttil is known to support gay marriage, having already gone on record a year ago saying that he is in favour of this change,” the spokesperson said.

“The change is an important step toward full marriage equality. Love has no gender. We believe that it is high time that this recognition is granted and that this issue is no longer used for political mileage by anyone with ulterior motives other than absolute equality.”

Civil liberties minister Helena Dalli has hit out at the PN over its selection of the right-winger Josie Muscat – a former Nationalist MP in the 1980s who later contested the elections with his hard right and anti-immigration party Azzjoni Nazzjonali in 2008 – to contest on the PN ticket. Dalli took the party to task for taking back Muscat on its ballot sheet, citing it as a threat to civil liberties gained in the past four years.

A Marriage Equality Bill was already announced back in February by Dalli, who said that the Civil Union Law gave gay couples the same rights as heterosexual couples under a different name. “Our civil union law is already on a par with marriage. All the rights are there and it’s just different in name so we’re changing that. We’re working on it,” Dalli said.

Joseph Muscat had already said he was in favour of gay marriage, but his statement came right in the midst of the Panama Papers scandal in March 2016. At the time, Simon Busuttil had said that since the Civil Unions Act gave gays the same rights and obligations as those in a civil marriage, he could not see any difficulty in the name being changed to reflect what the union represented – a marriage.