Government to propose civil partnerships for gay couples

Justice Minister Chris Said piloting the draft law on cohabitation says that the law will propose civil partnerships for gay couples.

Relationships between gay couples will be regulated by the law regulating cohabitation, including the institute of civil partnership.
Relationships between gay couples will be regulated by the law regulating cohabitation, including the institute of civil partnership.

The justice minister Chris Said, who is piloting the cohabitation law, said that the government will propose the regulation of same-sex relationships.  

Asked by MaltaToday whether the government intends to propose legislation in regards to same-sex unions, Said said "The bill on co-habitation will be discussed in Cabinet and within the Parliamentary Group shortly.  It will be presented to Parliament soon after."

The justice minister added "Government's position is that the relationship between gay couples should be regulated by the law regulating cohabitation, including the institute of civil partnership."

This is the first time the government has expressed itself clearly on same-sex unions and might pave the way for a fully fledged battle for the liberal vote between all the established political parties.

Government's position on same-sex unions follows the Nationalist Party's adoption of 'Our Roots', the party's new basic principles. The document explains that the PN believes that a "state that should legislate to establish the rights and obligations that should govern personal relationships; both heterosexual and homosexual."

The proposed law will, for the first time ever, provide legal recognition to same-sex partners. In Malta same-sex marriages are not legal and there is no other legislation regulating same-sex relationships.

Under the helm of Joseph Muscat, Labour has championed a liberal agenda, including divorce and gay rights without actually taking an official stand. As with divorce, the party leader has taken a stand in favour of civil unions however the party has declined from taking an official stand. However, the party has declared that it will include this proposal in its electoral manifesto.

On the other hand, Alternattiva Demokratika is the only political party to have taken a consistent stand in favour of same-sex unions. To date, the greens are the only party that advocates gay unions on a par with marriage between heterosexual couples.

The gay lobby also puts same-sex unions on the same level as marriage. In January, the Malta Gay Rights Movement presented a position paper advocating the best options for the legislation of same-sex marriage and families in Malta. The paper provides a legal framework for same-sex couples to be married and enjoy the rights and obligations that are incumbent upon married couples.

Last week, PN backbencher Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando said that his position in favour of gay unions was backed by the Prime Minister's special envoy and probable PN leadership contestant, Simon Busuttil.

Asked to confirm or deny Pullicino Orlando's claims, Busuttil said "I have no comment to make on private conversations." Busuttil was pressed to explain his personal position in regards to gay unions as against gay marriages, however no reply was received by the time we went to print.


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Mark Warner
As a gay person and a lobbyist of gay rights I welcome this decision but still await the outcome of the law itself. We have nothing in hand as yet, so we cannot count the chickens before they hatch. But please, do not take this as to catch my vote back - gay rights is my rights - there are other issues which I am not satisfied with from this government. For example, the high cost of energy to mention just one thing.
albert leone
Gonzipn OR the P.N. have "apparently" SEEN the light! NO GOING BACK NOW : ) What next, at this rate one can expect anything! Hunting and Trapping season is NOW OFFICIALLY OPEN for VOTES!
Stephen Xuereb
The PN is giving up all its principles and pangs of conscience for easch vote they can muster. Where is their conscience now - that conscience against divorce which caused the PN MPs to vote agaisnt the will of the electorate ? A civil parnetnrship between a mand and a woman whose marraige has broken down was not ok, but a civil partenrship between 2 men or 2 women is OK!! I am all for the rights of gays to their legally recognised unions but I am highlighting the hypocrisy of the PN in govt whose members will willingly sell their offspring for a vote. I will not be surpirsed that if an abortion lobby comes along before the elction they will get their way too!! And Gonzi has the nerve to accuse the PL of power hunger ! What a shameful lot you PN (in power )are!

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