Where do Abela and Fearne stand on civil rights?

MGRM invited the two candidates to “set the record straight”

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The Malta LGBTIQ Rights Movement (MGRM) invited the two candidates for PL Leader, Chris Fearne and Robert Abela, to “set the record straight”, and answer an identical set of questions related to the civil rights.

MGRM stated that for the past twenty years, it has worked hard for the achievement of several civil rights. As a result of the change in leadership of the Partit Laburista, and therefore the position of Prime Minister, rights such as marriage equality and equality in adoption could be threatened.

What is your position on civil rights?

  • Fearne responded that although “there hasn’t been a Government in the history of Malta that gave so many civil rights”, he feels that government has not done enough. He said that rights can be created and can change alongside society.
  • Abela insisted that he swear that if he is given the trust to become Prime Minister of the country, he will keep up the hard work to ensure that Malta remains a pioneer in this sector.

Do you agree that same-sex couples should be able to get married and start a family?

  • Fearne replied that he agrees, and that is why he has always voted in favour [of these rights].
  • Abela stated that he agrees that gay couples should be able to adopt children.

Would you consider reversing partially or completely any civil rights?

  • Fearne’s response was straight to the point: “That would not even occur to me.”
  • Abela’s answer was more detailed, explaining that none of the rights given should be reversed. He added that on the contrary, we should work on what we have achieved as a country, and he intends to not only consult with MGRM but also to involve it in a holistic manner for the strengthening of these laws.

What is your position on surrogacy?

  • Fearne replies that he has already expressed himself in favour of altruistic surrogacy, as long as it does not involve any payment or material compensation.
  • Abela says that “in the past, I have expressed myself publicly as personally in favour of surrogacy.”

Do you agree that persons living with HIV should have access to modern and dignified treatment? Would you consider introducing medical prevention such as PrEP trials?

  • Fearne, the Minister for Health himself, stated that large resources have been allocated towards this aim, and modern medicines, free of charge, which treat HIV will be introduced. “With respect to PrEP, I am already committed to introducing it shortly.”
  • Abela answered that he would only be able to answer the question upon consultation with the Minister for Health and the Cabinet.

Do you agree that men should abstain from sexual activity with another male for a year before being able to donate blood? Why?

  • Fearne stated that this one-year abstinence period should be reduced to four months, after epidemiology tests are conducted and verified. He added that it’s a matter of absolute importance that whoever receives blood always has his or her mind at rest.
  • Abela remarked that he understands that that there needs to be a mechanism that ensures safety, “but I do want to see a mechanism that does not create discrimination between individuals or sexual orientations.”

Do you agree that our schools should always include literature that is inclusive and covers all spectrums?

  • Fearne answered that he agrees, with sooner being better than later.
  • Abela believes that we need to revolutionise our sexual education system.