The Malta Gay Rights Movement has welcomed the passing of Hate Crime legislation in Parliament that extends the scope of this law from race and creed to also include sexual orientation and gender identity. The Bill was approved by parliament last night.

"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 MGRM noted that this Bill  was proposed during a protest following the incident against two young women who said they were 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."

The next step, the MGRM said, is to ensure  that police are adequately trained in dealing with such crimes and in actively reaching out to the LGBT community to ensure that victims feel safe to come forward and report such incidents. Adequate data collection is also essential.

"We also look forward to the passing of a second bill which will extend the remit of the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality to also cover sexual orientation and gender identity. This is expected to take place this week. It will allow the Commission to act as mediator and to investigate allegations of discrimination in employment on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity."

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