The Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM) said on Tuesday that the Embryo Protection Act is blatantly discriminatory on the basis of sexual orientation and is inherently homophobic in nature. MGRM said that the bill to regulate IVF in Malta “believes that by excluding same sex couples and single persons from its definition of prospective parents the Act goes against basic human rights principles such as the right to found a family.”
MGRM said that according to the Yogyakarta Principles on the Application of International Human Rights Law in relation to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity drawn up by a distinguished group of human rights experts, States should take all necessary legislative, administrative and other measures to ensure the right to found a family, including through access to adoption or assisted procreation (including donor insemination), without discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
MGRM said that states should also take all necessary legislative, administrative and other measures to ensure that any obligation, entitlement, privilege, obligation or benefit available to different-sex unmarried partners is equally available to same-sex unmarried partners. MGRM said :“This principle has been upheld in a number of European Court of Human Rights judgements which in the case of Schalk and Kopf v. Austria held that same sex couples living in a stable relationship constitute family life and in a number of other cases held that states acted in violation of article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) when they treated cohabiting same-sex couples differently from cohabiting opposite-sex couples (P.B. and J.S. v. Austria; Karner v. Austria; & Kozak v. Poland).”
MGRM said that enacting legislation that would deny medical treatment on the basis of sexual orientation would constitute a worrying precedent that has far reaching implications and engenders serious doubts in the minds of lesbian and gay citizens on this government’s commitment to equality.
MGRM also said that the criminalisation of sperm and egg donation has absolutely nothing to do with the protection of the embryo and is based on a restrictive model of the family which no longer applies in today’s world. MGRM reiterated that it is not the role of the State to determine who can or cannot become a parent and the introduction of this Act would constitute an unjustified intrusion in the private lives of individuals.
Gabi Calleja Coordinator of MGRM said: “It is truly shameful that LGBT persons will be forced to access reproductive health services in other countries at their own expense while subsidising the health services available to their heterosexual counterparts with their tax contributions, once again reinforcing the notion of second class citizenship.”