Gay marriage consensus should prompt immediate drafting of bill – MGRM

Welcoming the common position of Joseph Muscat and Simon Busuttil, the gay rights movement urges parliamentarians to put forward a bill without delay

The Malta Gay Rights Movement has called on parliamentarians to put forward a Bill opening up marriage to all couples irrespective of their gender, “without delay”.

MGRM coordinator Gabi Calleja welcomed the cross-party consensus on gay marriages after both Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Opposition leader Simon Busuttil came out in favour of the matter.

“MGRM welcomes the support expressed for marriage equality from both the Prime Minister the Leader of the,” Calleja said.

“Given that there seems to be consensus on the issue MGRM urges for a bill to be put forward opening up marriage to all couples irrespective of gender without delay.”

The Labour leader was addressing a working lunch organised by the female branch of the Labour Party when a lesbian couple, amongst other participants, said they wished for gay marriage to be introduced.

Muscat concurred that the time had come for a national debate on the issue, saying that “it might be a question of terminology, but why not?”

“Although some people might think that the public isn’t ready for gay marriage, I think that the country requires leadership,” he said. “We must continuously keep looking forward.”

The current legislation, introduced by the Labour government, puts civil unions on a par with marriage.

In a reaction, Busuttil confirmed that he would support the “change of name to marriages, since the civil unions legislation already gives couples the same rights and duties as those invoked by civil marriages”.

Calling it “a non-issue”, Busuttil accused Muscat of using gay marriages to deviate attention from the controversy surrounding his chief of staff and the energy minister on offshore interests in Panama.