The European body of the International Lesbian and Gay Association, ILGA-Europe, has concluded that Malta does not do enough to recognise or protect LGBT rights, according to the body’s recently published Rainbow Europe Country Index.
The index places ratings on countries according to a scale stretching from minus four (lowest negative score) to ten (highest positive score). Malta only achieved one point, placing it on a level with other European countires that are considered to have a poor track record on LGBT human rights, inlcuding Catholic and Orthodox strongholds such as Italy and Greece.
Gaby Calleja of the Malta Gay Rights Movement told timesofmalta.com: “Although on paper many think we are becoming more tolerant, there is nothing to boast about if Malta is still behind countries like Bulgaria and Romania when it comes to our basic human rights.”
Malta’s only current law that affords protection to people on the basis of their sexuality relates to employment. However, the island still has no laws pertaining to discrimination over goods and services and hate speech is not considered a crime when it is related to homosexuality.
With its single point, Malta remains ahead of Cyprus, Poland, Latvia and the Vatican, all of which obtained a zero score. The EU countries considered the most liberal, earning between nine and ten points, were Sweden, Spain, Belguim and The Netherlands. The only EU territory where homosexuality is against the law is the Turkish-controlled part of Cyprus. Despite this, legislation there is rarely enforced.