Dalli 'ashamed' civil unions law took so long

Government legislated civil union bill "with the humility of a flawed national record", Civil Liberties minister said.

Minister Helena Dalli
Minister Helena Dalli
The seminar was held at the University of Malta. Photo by Ray Attard
The seminar was held at the University of Malta. Photo by Ray Attard
Minister Helena Dalli addressing the audience at 'Rainbow families' seminar • Video by Ray Attard

Civil Liberties Minister Helena Dalli said that she was "ashamed" that it had taken Malta so long to legalise civil unions between same-sex couples.

In April of this year, a parliamentary vote was passed to introduce civil unions in Malta, through which the relationship between gay and lesbian couples can legally be recognised by the state.

The minister was speaking at a a seminar, 'Perspectives of Rainbow Families in Malta', which was held at the University of Malta this morning, and organised by the Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM), the Faculty for Social wellbeing and aditus - an independent, voluntary and non-profit organisation established to monitor, act and report on access to fundamental human rights.

"This was a very important year for this country's recognition of civil rights... rights which were previously awarded solely to straight couples," Dalli said.

"I am glad to have been minister at a time when such a law - which not only recognises the bond between gay and lesbian couples but also between them and their children - was passed."

Dalli said that the law was "long overdue" and admitted to being "ashamed" that it had taken the country so long to implement the law. "We were legislating with the humility of a flawed national record," she said. "It is something I worked on since the first day of my tenure and despite some opposition to the law, I am proud that we stuck to what is right and fair."

The minister recalled how she had never before witnessed the level of collective joy in the immediate aftermath of the bill being passed.

"I now look forward to the day when conferences are not held for rainbow families per se, as if they were the exception to the rule," she said.

As outlined in its mission statement, MGRM's Rainbow support service is committed to enhancing the quality of life of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning individuals, their family and friends through the provision of information, consultation and pyscho-social welfare services through an approach that considers an LGBTI identity as equally valid.

More in National

Get access to the real stories first with the digital edition