- abOut Mgrm
The Civil Union Act is now in law here in Malta and many questions have arisen. To address these, the link below will direct you to part of the Government website which should answer many of your questions. Should you find you're still not clear or cannnot find an answer to your specifc question, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Position Paper on the Legal Recognition of Same-Sex Couples and their Families
1. The right to marry is a fundamental human right enshrined in the major international and regional instruments. Marriage equality discussions should therefore be approached with a rights-based argumentation that acknowledges the inherent nature of the right to marry. As a fundamental human right, it is to be seen as an end in itself for those persons who are not granted access to its enjoyment.
2. A rights-based approach to marriage equality implies that the equal dignity of all persons is not up for discussion. Public discussions should not be directed towards deciding on the recognition or otherwise of fundamental human rights to groups of persons but towards an explanation of why, and in what way, all human rights are in fact universal.
3. Since marriage equality and its eventual inclusion in national legislation does not have any long-term negative impact on the meaning and institution of marriage, it should not be perceived as a social or legal threat.
4. Civil marriage is an institution independent of Canon Law and of the ecclesiastical authorities and, as such, should not be construed on the basis of religious belief. Furthermore, defining marriage in terms of its procreation potential excludes and offends those marriages and family units that, for whatever reason, do not include children. It also ignores the Maltese reality of several children being currently raised by gay men and lesbian women.
5. Various legislative changes challenged the apparent immutability of the marriage definition, demonstrating the real possibility of Malta’s House of Representatives to effectively alter the definition of marriage. In its essence, marriage equality calls for yet another such legislative change.
6. Various forms of legal recognition of same-sex couples are based on an evaluation of the rights and obligations attached to each form. A long list of very important rights and obligations is triggered once the couple sign the marriage contract. These rights and obligations provide an automatic protection for the spouses individually, the children and to the family unit itself. Except for limited situations of possible self-regulation, same-sex couples are denied all of this protection.
7. Marriage equality is the form of legal recognition that ensures the enjoyment on an equal footing of all rights and obligations enjoyed by married different-sex
couples. It is also based on an indiscriminate view of the LGBTI community as equal members of Maltese society, having equal rights and sharing equal responsibilities.
Registered partnerships are the form of recognition most closely affiliated with marriage since they generally grant a high level of rights enjoyment together with obligations similar to those emanating from a marriage contract. Cohabitation legislation does not recognise the existence of a stable relationship built on love, commitment and mutual support but merely acknowledges the physical presence of two or more persons under the same roof.
8. Cohabiting same-sex couples are a family unit and should enjoy the protection of the law through a form of recognition as such, and not as any other form of relationship.
9. In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration. It is in the best interests of children to enjoy a relationship with their parent(s) that is recognised and protected by the law, regardless of whether they share a biological link with their parent(s).
10. Adoption of a child by his/her coparent should be made available without discrimination based on the child’s birth status or the parents’ marital status, sexual orientation or gender identity. Coparent adoption should not be dependent upon the severance of other parental ties. Evaluations of a person’s, or of a couple’s, parenting skills should not distinguish between heterosexual and homosexual persons but should take into account the potential for offering a child an environment conducive to his/her overall well-being.
11. Marriage equality in Malta will also avoid the emotional, financial and social difficulties faced by same-sex partners in any immigration context, thereby eliminating a discriminatory approach to Malta’s application and interpretation of its EU law obligations.
12. On the basis of experiences on other jurisdictions, it seems that rendering national marriage legislation gender-neutral both in form and in interpretation could be the most straightforward manner of introducing marriage equality in Malta.
13. The Maltese authorities should not ignore the financial implications of becoming an international marriage destination. A ‘market’ that is extremely highin demand, particularly within the EU, and low in supply might be a perfect match for the other conditions leading different-sex couples to marry in Malta, such as climate, safety, size, friendly atmosphere, etc.