News (World)

Malta parliament to consider same-sex civil unions bill

VALLETTA, Malta — Lawmakers in the tiny Mediterranean island nation of Matla are scheduled to debate a bill Tuesday that will grant same-sex couples the same benefits legally as civil marriages.

Valletta, Malta
Valletta, Malta

Malata’s Equality Minister Helena Dalli said Monday that the three-page draft law was based on a 1980’s-era Danish equivalent that lawmakers and LGBT activists claim was a model best suited to be adopted by lawmakers, and be accepted by the public.

“We will make sure that children start understanding the equality of rights and obligations of marriage. This law will necessitate a culture change in government and society,” Dalli said.

Malta LGBTQI Equality Rights Movement coordinator Gabi Calleja said the civil unions bill was an important step towards the recognition of same-sex marriage.

Labour MEP candidate Cyrus Engerer, who headed the consultative council that proposed the law, said that the Bill also covered co-habiting couples. He said that the council did not try to reinvent the wheel, it simply wanted a more equal society.

Dalli also told local media that she hoped for consensus from the Opposition party, and felt that the Prime Minister would support this bill.

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She said that, as a sign of good faith, the government will on Wednesday also present a Private Member’s Bill, put forward by MP Claudette Buttigieg, against discrimination based on sexual orientation and race.

Dalli said that “laws could be changed with the touch of a pen, however changing a nation’s culture was an altogether different beast,” adding that the government would embark on an educational campaign aimed at children and adults alike.

She noted that school programs would have to be reinforced at home and in society, and this would be helped by educational campaigns, including TV and print advertisements.

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