Malta is in the process of amending its constitution to expand protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation. Introduced by a private member, the parliamentary affairs deputy leader Mario de Marco compelled the government to welcome the new legislation so that “no law could be discriminatory.”
De Marco referenced a study which showed that 51 percent of Maltese LGBT people suffer discrimination based on sexual orientation while the overall average is 47 percent.
Article 45 of Malta’s constitution states protection against discrimination based on sex and race but has yet to include sexual orientation.
Drawn up by lawyer Therese Comodini Cachia, the legislation included other initiatives such as amending homophobia as a crime as well as unveiling a gender identity act.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat supported the belief that LGBT couples have the right to enter civil unions at the end of the year.
The Maltese government has been progressive as they extended their laws to protect citizen based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
“We thank both sides of the House for supporting this bill and sending a strong message to society that targeting someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity is unacceptable and will incur tougher penalties,” The Malta Gay Rights Movement said in a press release.
“This Bill was proposed during a protest following the incident against two young lesbians in Hamrun earlier this year… The courage of these young people to report the crime played an important role in providing the required impetus to move forward with this legislative proposal which had been on MGRM’s agenda for a number of years.”
According to a survey by MaltaToday, respondents supported marriage equality with 41 percent while young adults from the age 18 to 35 years of age rose to 60 percent.