Dalli commented on de Marco's statement.
I wanted to pinch myself because I could not believe my ears when I heard an Opposition MP say that the party which was opposed to granting transgender legal recognition, now does not only want them (transgender persons) to be the same as others but they want the best for them.
In her speech Dalli summarized the progress of the Bill which will amend the Civil Code so that transpeople would be considered as members of their acquired sex with full rights, including the right to marry.
We have come a long way.
Currently transsexual people applying for marriage are considered to be members of their gender at birth. The amendment will reflect the principle that, by recognizing reassigned gender by issuing new documentation, the State is de facto committed to acknowledging and protecting the rights and privileges associated with that gender identity.
De Marco admitted that the PN government should have been more sensitive in the case of Joanne Cassar.
The Lawrence Gonzi-led PN government consistently denied transgender people the right to marry.
On behalf of the opposition, I apologise for failing to react at the opportune time when decisions taken did not grant Ms Cassar the rights she requested and for failing to enact the neccessery legislation before.
De Marco added that society needs people to challenge it and Ms. Cassar was a pioneer who will affect the lives of many people.
Individuals make choices on the basis of responsibility not to encroach other persons' freedom. The introduction of the right to marry for transgender persons, does not take away anything from other people's but guarantees a right to a minority.
De Marco noted that the bill is simply an extension of the right to freedom which allows individuals to choose their state and have people recognize it with all legal obligations.
Cassar sued Malta in the European Court of Human Rights, which ruled in 2011 that her fundamental rights to marriage and family life had been violated by Maltese law.
As the ruling justices wrote at the time:
With the situation as it is today she is deprived of forming a lifetime partnership with a man or a woman.
This partnership need not be marriage, and should not be from the nature of the circumstances... but the law should cater for another form of partnership.
Dalli noted that she did not like the term 'minority.' She said that persons who have no rights or whose rights are violated should not have their rights upheld in proportion to their numbers.
Concluded her speech, she added the following, which I would give anything to have every human being read and understand:
We cannot rest on our laurels. Our work has only commenced, we need to educate our school children, our young people, our workers and everyone else. This is a very important because it is a civil and human right.
It's about human rights. Even if it's about one person, we must guarantee that that person's rights are safeguarded. Everybody must be treated equally and we all have our rights and liberties.
The law will not affect many people because the transgender persons are not many but their victory is everybody's victory. This is a victory for freedom.
I have dreamt of a time when people finally realize that our battle is a battle for the rights of everyone to be who they are. When I have written previously about the Gender Prison, I would hope that people would recognize that it is not transpeople who are in that prison, but rather the vast majority of other people. We transpeople are the escapees.