All families are equal – Muscat
Government should only interfere in relationships to curb abuse – Said
All families are equal and politicians have the duty to ensure there are “no second-class families” in Malta, Labour Party leader Joseph Muscat said yesterday.
Speaking during a Labour Party meeting in Xewkija, Dr Muscat said that in 10 to 15 years’ time people would look back and see that his party was right.
In the 1960s Labour Party members were courageous enough to support the separation of Church and State, during some of the darkest days in Maltese history and at a time when gay couples could be jailed. If they stood up for people’s rights back then, then “so should we” today, he added.
There should be no second-class families in Malta and all families should be treated equally, Dr Muscat insisted. He made reference to comments made by Justice Minister Chris Said during the launch of the Cohabitation Bill last week.
Dr Said had said the government did not want to put cohabitation on the same level as a family constituted in marriage.
Yesterday, Dr Muscat said “politicians” had no right to decide who was a family and who was not.
Last week, Dr Muscat labelled the minister “homophobic”. Dr Said told The Sunday Times that when he introduced the Cohabitation Bill he was speaking within a legal context and Labour was trying to twist his words.
In a statement, yesterday, Dr Said said he believed that the relationship between two people, even if of the same sex, was something precious for those living it. He also believed that this relationship was their family nucleus even if they were not married.
He agreed that the government should not interfere in a couple’s relationship, unless to step in to curb abuse. The Cohabitation Bill regulated relationships that were outside of marriage irrespective of whether the couple was gay or not.
Dr Muscat also spoke of how a new Labour government would aim to create jobs and a strong economy in Gozo based on tourism and manufacturing.
He said the government was in crisis and was “incompetent” when it came to financial and economic strategies. He added that, over the last four years, the Administration had failed to meet its goals.
Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi was insisting that deficit targets would be met but the deficit had only increased, Dr Muscat said.
To meet targets, Dr Gonzi would probably repeat what he did last year and reduce capital expenditure, which was necessary for the country to progress, Dr Muscat added.
When the EU had told Malta it had to reduce its budget by several millions, the “cowardly” government did not have the guts to face the public. The news was announced in a one-sentence statement to the media, the Labour leader said.
Now the government was doing the same and did not announce a second set of cuts to the public, he said ominously, without, however, giving more details.
When pressed, a Labour spokesman said he could not provide the details yesterday.
In a statement, the Nationalist Party said Dr Muscat had carried out a partisan attack despite a number of economic successes. If the government had taken on board Dr Muscat’s proposals, such as not joining the EU and eurozone, and acted similarly to Cyprus, then there would be mass unemployment.