[VIDEOS] PM 'proud to be among 20%' backing gay adoptions

Follow us here for the historic vote on civil unions in the House of Representatives • hashtag #civilunions on Twitter

Valletta celebrates civil unions law (Photo: Ray Attard)
Valletta celebrates civil unions law (Photo: Ray Attard)
Wedding cake at St George's (Photo: Ray Attard)
Wedding cake at St George's (Photo: Ray Attard)
Celebrating civil unions law (Photo: Ray Attard)
Celebrating civil unions law (Photo: Ray Attard)
Photo by Ray Attard
Photo by Ray Attard
The rainbow flag is draped over the Labour Party HQ
The rainbow flag is draped over the Labour Party HQ
Opposition leader Simon Busuttil announces the Opposition's vote of abstention over civil unions bill (Photo: Ray Attard)
Opposition leader Simon Busuttil announces the Opposition's vote of abstention over civil unions bill (Photo: Ray Attard)
Prime Minister on civil unions law (Video by Ray Attard)
22:58 The party is still going strong... but we're going home. Thanks for following us - Miriam, Jurgen and Matthew Miriam Dalli
22:30 The most notable abscence during tonight's event was that of opposition MP Claudette Buttigieg. The PN today abstained on the civil unions bill despite saying that it is in favour of recognising same sex partnerships. Miriam Dalli
22:28 Prime Minister Joseph Muscat was given a rousing reception by the boisterous crowd in Valletta. He told the partying crowd "I want to ensure that my children grow up in a country of equality" before being granted a standing ovation. He is seen of the stage to the tune of gay anthem Holiday by Madonna Miriam Dalli
22:14 Matthew Vella
22:13 Matthew Vella
22:12 Matthew Vella
22:11 Matthew Vella
22:10 Matthew Vella
22:10 Matthew Vella
22:03 Before an ecstatic crowd, MGRM coordinator Gabi Calleja says “even our love deserves dignity”, thanking politicians “who took a risk and defended and championed the law in its entirety”.
”Every episode of abuse and discrimination, every battled we fought convinced us that we couldn’t lose this battle”.
Miriam Dalli
Valletta celebrates civil unions (Video by Ray Attard)
21:46 Matthew Vella
21:45 Matthew Vella
21:40 The Parliamentary sitting is over. MPs making their way out...I'm not sure they'll all be given the same reception by the partying crowd outside the building. Jurgen Balzan
21:39 The Speaker warns the crowd of onlookers to remain silent as they make they way out. MPs are currently voting on the opposition's proposed Constitutional amendment to introduce protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation Jurgen Balzan
21:39 Matthew Vella
21:38 Matthew Vella
21:37 Matthew Vella
21:33 37 votes in favour, none against and 30 abstentions. Jurgen Balzan
21:32 The vote will be taken in seconds. MPs will be asked to stand up and declare their vote. All government MPs bar none are on their feet. The civil unions bill is approved. Jurgen Balzan
21:31 Muscat adds that the government would never “compromise” with its basis beliefs, Muscat said that while the PN was absconding its responsibilities by abstaining, the government “will proudly vote” for the bill. Government whip Carmelo Abela informs the Speaker that foreign minister George Vella was away on official business and would have voted in favour had he been present. Jurgen Balzan
21:30 Prime Minister Joseph Muscat takes the floor and says that the time had come to “choose the future above the past.” Explaining that his government’s drive to introduce the civil union bill was intended to protect the minority’s rights and make the country more “equal and liberal” for the benefit of the whole country. Jurgen Balzan
21:24 Busuttil says that government did not seek consensus, noting that government “chose division over unity.” He adds that the opposition would abstain because it agreed with civil unions but had reservations on gay adoptions. Jurgen Balzan
21:22 “Society is not ready for gay adoptions,” Busuttil says, stressing that the PN was concerned with children’s rights. “We are not sure whether children’s rights will be upheld by this law,” he says, adding that the PN would have voted for the law if there was no reference to adoptions. Jurgen Balzan
21:19 PN leader Simon Busuttil is currently addressing Parliament and explaining why the opposition would be abstaining. He says the opposition voted for the civil unions bill in the first and second reading in Parliament. While noting that “it was a pity that this law was not approved by Parliament before,” Busuttil says that ideally the vote would have been approved unanimously. However the opposition has “reservations, shared by 80% of the people” on adoption of children by same sex couples. Jurgen Balzan
20:57 Soon the vote will be taken in parliament on the civil unions law. Crowds have gathered outside the parliament building awaiting the historic event... wedding cake included Miriam Dalli
Gay couples welcome civil unions law (Video by Ray Attard)
Civil unions law welcomed (Video by Ray Attard)
19:41 Matthew Vella
19:28 Matthew Vella
18:57 Matthew Vella
18:49 Gay couples who obtained their marriage certificates in another European country, tomorrow will be formally recognised by the Maltese state. Matthew Vella
18:47 Matthew Vella
18:47 And here's the Nationalist whip tweeting on the Opposition's decision today: Matthew Vella
18:46 A message from the Prime Minister's doctor of spin (... spokesperson) Kurt Farrugia Matthew Vella
18:46 Matthew Vella
18:45 Here's our report on Simon's Busuttil's press conference PN to abstain on civil unions, ‘society not ready for gay adoptions’ and see his latest tweet below. Matthew Vella
18:42 Matthew Vella
18:25 Matthew Vella
18:02 And here's the reaction of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to Simon Busuttil's press conference:

Matthew Vella
17:55 A tweet from the @MalteseTenor Joseph Calleja

Matthew Vella
17:52 Matthew Vella
17:51 Matthew Vella
17:47 Matthew Vella
17:47 Matthew Vella
17:42 Simon Busuttil "Opposition will abstain on civil unions bill tonight because of our reservations on gay adoption." Matthew Vella
17:41 Simon Busuttil "Opposition is in favour of civil unions, but we have reservations on gay adoption." Matthew Vella
17:39 Matthew Vella
17:17 Matthew Vella
17:01 Matthew Vella
16:45 Opposition leader Simon Busuttil @SimonBusuttil to give a press conference at the House of Representatives at 5:30pm Matthew Vella
16:12 A tweet from aditus, the human rights organisation

Matthew Vella

Here's a reaction to Claudette Buttigieg's @butclaudette comments on gay adoptions, by Silvan Agius @SilvanAgius, the human rights policy coordinator in the ministry for civil liberties

I’m writing to respond to the following claim by Hon. Buttigieg reported on www.maltatoday.com.mt “Adoptions and civil unions should not have been placed together. Adoption is not the right of a heterosexual or homosexual couple, but a child’s right. I think we are confusing the people with this sort of imposition. Society has its reservations and it’s our duty to delve deeper.”

The Maltese government, has always insisted that adoption is a children’s right and not a parents’ right. In fact, the formulation of the civil unions bill clearly indicates this, as same-sex and different-sex civil partners will have to go through the same adoption procedure that is currently applied to adoptions by married partners. Once again, the Prime Minister and Minister Dalli have stressed this point on countless occasions.

Aside from the above, the Civil Unions Act that will be adopted today, will not have a reference to adoptions. It is the Civil Code that will be amended to ensure that civil partners have equal access to adoption as heterosexual partners.

It is baffling to see that Hon. Buttigieg is repeated her same old statements when she was present in Committee when Prof. Angela Abela clearly state that there is no study that supports the continuation of the current discriminatory legislation, and that it is the manner in which parents care for their children that matters, and not their sexual orientation.

Hon. Buttigieg should do her part, and inform those people who may still be confused, by ensuring that she portrays the scope of the bill fairly.
Matthew Vella
15:37 Matthew Vella
15:29 ILGA spokesperson Juris Lavrikovs tweets"

Matthew Vella
15:26 Michael Briguglio blogs on MaltaToday.com.mton tonight's historic vote. The sociologist and former Green Party leader describes it as a historic moment in terms of social justice and equality. Matthew Vella
14:29 Like the rest of the PN parliamentary group, the Opposition’s spokesperson for civil liberties Claudette Buttigieg did not want to say what her vote will be.
It is believed that the PN will abstain.

However, she says it’s evident for everyone that “we would have been happier if the issue of adoptions was treated as a separate matter from civil unions”.

“Adoptions and civil unions should not have been placed together. Adoption is not the right of a heterosexual or homosexual couple, but a child’s right. I think we are confusing the people with this sort of imposition. Society has its reservations and it’s our duty to delve deeper.”

Buttigieg insists that the matter was rushed with and that “it could have been handled better”.
Miriam Dalli
14:17 Here's a tweet from equality minister Helena Dalli

Matthew Vella
14:05 From the president of the Argentine LGBTI association - 'Malta's important step'

Matthew Vella
13:17 For those who regularly follow Parliament, it’s going to be a busy night: the debate on the Opposition’s motion to repeal a legal notice authorising the Education Minister to request data on students from educational institutions will kick off at 6:30pm.

Three votes will be taken at 9pm: the vote on the civil unions bill; the vote on a constitutional amendment – proposed by PN MP Claudette Buttigieg – to include “sexual orientation” to be added to the fundamental rights and freedoms protected by the state; and the vote on the Opposition’s motion.
Miriam Dalli
13:09 Just spoke to the Opposition’s whip, David Agius. He says that PN’s decision on civil unions bill will be communicated in the coming hours, most probably before the vote is taken in the House this evening at 9pm. “The parliamentary group has decided that leader Simon Busuttil should communicate the Opposition’s decision to the media, at the opportune moment.” Miriam Dalli
12:48 Matthew Vella
Here's a Facebook post from MaltaToday journalist and pollster James Debono (@jamesdebono1)

13:02 Former PN MEP candidate Edward Demicoli supports Karl Gouder’s comments: “Agree wholeheartedly. On these social issues, our party is on the wrong side of history.” Miriam Dalli
12:23 Earlier on, President of the Republic Marie Louise Coleiro Preca met Gozo Bishop Mario Grech: she said that adoption laws will be strengthened to ensure that the children’s best interests are safeguarded. Miriam Dalli
12:19 Miriam Dalli
12:18 It’s going to be one full night of celebration tonight in Valletta as the Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM) announced that singers including Glen Vella, Claudia Faniello, Amber, Davinia, Daniel Testa, Matt ‘Muxu Mercieca and Renato are set to take the stage. Miriam Dalli
12:10 Matthew Vella
12:10 A Nationalist MP who spoke to MaltaToday says the PN will present a united front on today's civil unions vote: Matthew Vella
11:45 Matthew Vella
11:32 @miriam_dalli has just spoken to Gozo Bishop Mario Grech (@grechmario), who this morning paid a courtesy visit to the President of the Republic - here's what he said: “There is nothing much to say… it’s part of the stories that make up our history.” In Maltese: “Parti minn nisga ta’ grajjiet f’pajjizna” Matthew Vella
11:25 Here's a tweet from former Nationalist MP Karl Gouder Matthew Vella
@MGRM_Malta celebration in front of parliament: http://t.co/3opHAVFv3aw pic.twitter.com/5CG7QNheeN

— Silvan Agius (@SilvanAgius) April 10, 2014
11:20 Follow @maltatoday on Twitter and use hashtag #civilunions to comment - journalists @miriam_dalli and @jurgenbalzan will also be reporting. Matthew Vella
11:19 Good morning - we'll be bringing you today's commentary on Malta's historic vote for civil unions on this live blog. Matthew Vella

The Maltese parliament will tonight vote on a historic bill legislating for full equality between married couples and civil unions for both heterosexual and homosexual couples.

The law will also give gay unions the right to adopt children.

The bill was promised by the Labour Party during its 2013 election campaign, and marks one of Malta's greatest steps ever towards full equality for LGBT people.

The Nationalist Party has not opposed the civil unions but expressed its reservations on allowing gay couples to adopt.