Friday, 31 July 2009
In answer to comments by Gozo Bishop Mario Grech on same-sex civil marriage this is what I have to say.
The issue with a small overcrowded island like Malta should not only be the mathematics and the principle of conditional probability but also the fact that Malta is overpopulated. In the 1950s and 1960s, large numbers of Maltese emigrated to various countries. Australia alone took about 60,000.
Imagine if they all remained in Malta producing children as expected by the Church. Since Malta cannot ship out immigrants as such, condoms or a one-child-per-family policy, as is the case in China, should be encouraged.
Has anyone thought of us and thanked us for the fact that we, homosexuals, are really nature's answer to birth control. We should be given bonuses by the government for not producing more children and putting less stress on the already-exhausted infrastructure, especially in this day and age when the future is so unclear and disastrous for the generations to come. We are running out of space and out of everything.
[Click on the hyperlink above to view the cooments on the Times' website.]
18th June 2009, 6:45 WST by ANDREW TILLETT CANBERRA
Supposedly conservative West Australians have swung behind gay marriage, with a new opinion poll finding more than half the State’s population in favour of same-sex unions.
BLOG: Same sex marriage: We do?
Gay rights activists have used the findings to reignite the same-sex marriage debate, with 60 per cent of Australians believing homosexual couples should be able to get hitched, while 36 per cent were opposed.
In WA, 59 per cent backed gay marriage, compared with 37 per cent against.
The Australian Marriage Equalitycommissioned poll of 1100 people also found that 58 per cent wanted foreign same-sex marriages to be recognised legally in Australia.
“Clearly, Australians believe marriage is first and foremost about love and commitment, not your partner’s gender,” AME convener Peter Furness said.
The Howard government outlawed gay marriage in 2004 by defining marriage as between a man and a woman. It means same-sex marriages entered into overseas are also invalid.
Despite growing support for samesex marriage, the issue is off the agenda for State and Federal politicians.
Nedlands couple Roy and John Berkin used a loophole allowing them to apply at Perth’s British Consulate in 2007 for a British civil partnership, which is not recognised here.
Roy changed his surname by deed poll to match his partner but they want to marry legally, arguing the ban is discriminatory.
“Both of us have siblings who are married — they are able to show the world they are a couple but we cannot,” Roy said.
Appell biex tkun eliminata d-diskriminazzjoni
13 ta' Lulju, 2008 16:48 CET
Il-ħidma politika fil-pajjiż għandha tkun fid-direzzjoni li tkun eliminata kull forma ta' diskriminazzjoni.
Jean Pierre Debono, l-Assistent Segretarju Ġenerali tal-Partit Nazzjonalista, qal dan meta s-Sibt indirizza l-ħames edizzjoni tal-Pride March u l-Festival tal-Gays organizzat mill-Moviment għad-Drittijiet tal-Gays. L-attività saret f'Bay Street.
Hu tkellem ukoll dwar ir-rispett lejn id-diversità, l-ugwaljanza u l-inklużjoni u rringrazzja lill-Moviment għall-invit li sar lill-PN biex jattendi għall-attività.
Għall-attività attendew diversi rappreżentanti tal-partiti politiċi fosthom il-Whip tal-Grupp Parlamentari Nazzjonalista David Agius.
Tuesday, 28 July 2009
26.7.9 by Claudine Cassar
It is an amazing fact that some people believe that they have the God-given right to stand in judgement over their fellow human beings. These people go around with a holier-than-thou attitude, and think that they are somehow entitled to force their own set of moral codes on other people – including complete strangers whom they do not know in the slightest.
This week I came across an extreme example of such behaviour – people who mask their intolerance and bigotry behind a cloak of piety.
One of my friends is in a same-sex relationship and lives with her girlfriend. They share an apartment and recently updated their doorbell label to show both their surnames. This was apparently an affront to the people of the neighbourhood, who embarked on a campaign to show their displeasure at the turn of events.
The lady in question is not one to take things lying down – when anonymous letters started showing up in their mailbox, she scanned them and made them available for all her friends to see on Facebook.
I read them, and frankly they were sickening – “what a shame to see such an appalling postal name in a religious family-oriented neighbourhood”; “refrain from continuing your obscene behaviour”. Other missives followed, warning them that they would lose their soul and burn in hell, unless they changed their way of life – and their offending doorbell label.
The anonymous homophobes saw nothing hypocritical about posting letters in someone’s mailbox in the dead of night, when nobody can see them, promising to “pray so that God will heal you both”. It did not strike them as malicious and ‘sinful’ to insult people, and hurt their feelings. Makes you wonder who needs to be healed, doesn’t it?
The point of departure of any discussion on divorce should be the consensus that the family was the most important structure in Malta, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said yesterday.
Steering away from controversy on the hot issue, Dr Gonzi said that with such principle in mind, the country could discuss how to strengthen the family and how to best address the realities people in the country were facing.
Dr Gonzi was speaking after he was presented with a report entitled For Worse, For Better: Re-marriage After Legal Separation by the members of the Today Public Policy Think Tank.
The report says divorce legislation has become an urgent necessity and laws to regularise cohabiting couples are no substitute.
The Church criticised the report saying the country did not need such legislation because it was detrimental to society.
The think tank's director general, Martin Scicluna, also presented Dr Gonzi with an unpublished report on the affordability of Malta's social security system. The lead author was Joseph F.X. Zahra, former head of the euro changeover committee and former Bank of Valletta chairman. The report is due to be published tomorrow.
Mr Scicluna said he hoped the report would stimulate public debate and nudge the government into action as this was a topic successive governments tended to sweep under the carpet.
Dr Gonzi said the issue of affordability was a challenge that had been long in coming and which the country needed to discuss and tackle away from partisan politics.
Monday, 27 July 2009
27.7.9 Minn Charles Flores
Kellu kull ġustifikazzjoni l-moviment tal-gays f’Malta joħroġ pubblikament juri d-diżappunt tiegħu li l-istazzjonijiet nazzjonali mmexxija mill-PBS naqsu milli jirrappurtaw dwar il-parata anwali li jorganizza b’appoġġ minn ħafna nies li ma jiddejqux juru l-qbil tagħhom mal-ħtieġa tal-għoti ta’ aktar jeddijiet lil persuni b’orjentazzjoni sesswali differenti. Fost dawn kien hemm membri parlamentari miż-żewġ naħat tal-arena politika f’pajjiżna.
Meta tipprova tifhem il-għala l-PBS iddeċidew li jieħdu dan l-atteġġjament qajla jirnexxilek. Kienet paprata oħra minn sensiela ta’ deċiżjonijiet editorjali li la jagħmlu sens u wisq anqas ġustiżżja ma’ dawk konċernati. Possibli, l-bord editorjali tal-kumpanija jaqbel li jkollu t-taqsima tal-aħbarijiet tinjora attivita’ li qajl qajl qed issir tradizzjoni kif ilha f’bosta pajjiżi ferm iżjed tolleranti minna? Kif jaħsbuha l-membri ta’ dan il-bord li, ngħiduha kif inhi, huwa magħmul minn nies rashom fuq għonqhom, jafu x’inhi u x’mijiex aħbar u, fuq kollox, japprezzaw ir-realta’ tad-diversita’ fil-ħajja.
Żgur li m’hemmx l-iskuża li l-PBS ma kinux mistednin għall-attivita’. Skont Gabi Calleya, l-uffiċjal responsabbli mill-kordinazzjoni tal-moviment tal-gays f’Malta, ħarġet stedina għall-Midja kollha fil-pajjiż biex ikolhom l-opportunita’ jirrappurtaw l-andament tal-parata fil-Belt.
Calleya, bil-ħaqq kollu, ma qagħditx tomgħodha u sostniet li l-istazzjonijiet nazzjonali kienu fid-dmir li jirrappurtaw l-attivita’. Dan għaliex huma, l-PBS, jirrappreżentaw lis-soċjeta’ kollha Maltija u għalhekk iridu jaraw li jkunu ġusti fil-coverage tagħhom ma’ kull sezzjoni ta’ dik l-istess soċjeta’.
Wieħed jittama li din il-paprata min-naħa tal-PBS mhix riżultat ta’ xi preġudizzji li jista’ jkollu xi ħadd fit-tmexxija jew inkella ta’ ndħil minn xi wħud li jaħsbu li għandhom il-ġwienaħ. Il-gay parades fid-dinja kollha jingħataw attenzjoni sħiħa mill-Midja. L-ewwel nett għax minnhom infushom ikunu attivitajiet mill-aktar imlewna u ferrieħa, u anki b’rispett għal dawk fis-soċjeta’ li jħossuhom differenti u għandhom kull jedd iħossuhom hekk.
B’kuntrast għall-kumpanija nazzjoali tax-xandir, stazzjonijiet oħrajn Maltin ma ddejqux jirrappurtaw l-attivita’ fil-belt kapitali tagħna. Kienu serji u prudenti fir-rappurtaġġ tagħhom, kif wara kollox jixraq lil kull sezzjni tas-soċjeta’ li jidhrilha għandha ssemma’ leħinha.
Saturday, 25 July 2009
On Sunday 19th July during a Pontifical Mass in Victoria, Gozo he claimed that some are "playing with the nature of marriage, ... who maintained it could be celebrated by a couple of the same sex". (as reported on the Times 24/7/2009 Gozo Bishop expresses doubts on sexual
It is very frustrating that the Bishop doesn't understand the RIGHT for a gay man to be at the bed-side of his beloved partner during illness, and be able to take care of him by granting urgent-family leave. The civil partnership GIVES the right to stay by the bedside of your loved one when he needs it most. it gives you the visitation rights, the right for urgent family leave from work, the right to take medical-related decisions in case he/she is unable to do so, the right for bereavement leave when he/she dies and the right to organise a funeral. These are all rights which no-one likes to think about and are taken for granted - but what happens if you are left out of the hospital ward because you are just a friend if a serious accident occurs. What if the Community Chest fund gives no funds to poor gay couples with one suffering from terminal cancer (ask Peppi Azzopardi for story - Xarabank 30 Jan 2009). The civil partnership/gay marriage is about spending the rest of your life with the loved one and these events can happen. It is not about the Institution of Marriage or to try and ridicule the Church's teaching but the Church (and the close alliance with GONZIpn) is the biggest obstacle in Malta.
Wouldn't a real Christian try to alleviate the pain and suffering during the most difficult time of life. It once again confirms the Bishop's lack of knowledge on the subject. It is his duty to inform
himself before preaching on the topic.
Whilst Mgr Grech asks for forgiveness in case of child abuse by the clergy, yet he is the first to ask for a harsh sentence for a person who dresses up as a religious figure in carnival.
Bishop Grech should understand the importance of contraception due to the multiplication effect which such diseases have. If Mgr Grech dealt with some mathematics and the principle of conditional probablilty he would understand that a very grave scenario can appear in the Maltese islands in less than 20 years.
Mgr Grech is probably against the decriminalisation of homosexuality, which was fiercely opposed by Archbishop Mgr Michael Gonzi in 1972.
His lack of knowledge yet again confirm he lacks the compassion and empathy which define a real Catholic and is unfit to preach on sexuality.
Gozo bishop Mario Grech has warned the European Union that if it chose to be ethically indifferent and sceptical to fundamental values, it would be paving the way for the horror skeletons of its past to re-emerge.
Speaking during a Marian manifestation in Marsalforn yesterday evening, Mgr Grech said that the late Pope John Paul II, who greatly believed in Europe, used to say that Europeans faced a major challenge to build a culture and unity ethic and that if these were lacking the policy aimed at bringing about unity would be destined to fail.
Mgr Grech said that a campaign currently being carried out by Brigitta Ohlsson, a member of the Swedish Liberal People's Party aimed to collect a million signatures to pressure the EU to push countries such as Malta to introduce an abortion act.
This was not the first time that pressure was being made for unethical and immoral laws to be enacted.
Some months ago, Arie Hoekman, a United Nations Population Fund representative from the Netherlands, said that family breakdown was a triumph for human rights.
"Could there be a more unclear vision," Mgr Grech asked adding that it was in this context that the Pope invited Europe to have more confidence in people who could enjoy a family built on marriage.
The bishop said that it might not be fashionable nowadays to speak about sacrifice in marriage but although it was positive that there was more freedom, this brought with it responsibilities.
One of the reasons as to why families were going through difficult times was because society was lost in pleasure and did not want to know about mortification, he said.
The Maltese, he said, should be proactive and send Europe a message of hope. He appealed to families to educate their children in human and Christian values to prepare for a new political generation for the future.
Times: European environment morally polluted - Gozo bishophttp://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20090725/local/european-environment-morally-polluted-gozo-bishop
Saturday, 25th July 2009
Gozo Bishop Mario Grech warned that if the EU chose to be ethically indifferent and sceptical towards fundamental values in the name of tolerance it risked reawakening the "frightening skeletons" of its past.
Stopping short of referring to Europe's divisions that led to two world wars and their repercussions, Mgr Grech said that if the rules of life were not fixed, society would descend into relativism.
Speaking during a Marian manifestation in Marsalforn on Thursday night, Mgr Grech spoke on how the EU had the euro and common laws but there was no commitment to have ethical unity. "By this I mean working towards common ethical and moral values that are the backbone of every society," he told the congregation.
The late Pope John Paul II, who greatly believed in Europe, used to say Europeans faced a major challenge to build a culture and unity ethic and if these were lacking, the policy aimed at bringing about unity would be destined to fail.
Referring to the campaign of Brigitta Ohlsson, Swedish Liberal People's Party member, to collect a million signatures to pressure the EU to push countries such as Malta to introduce abortion legislation, Mgr Grech said this was not the first time pressure was being made for immoral laws to be enacted.
Ironically, on the day of his homily, the Church was celebrating the feast of St Brigida of Sweden, who had been proposed as one of three patron saints of Europe by Pope John Paul II.
Mgr Grech said some months ago, Arie Hoekman, a United Nations Population Fund representative from the Netherlands, said the breakdown of the traditional family was a triumph for those who had human rights at heart. "Could there be a more blurred vision than this?" Mgr Grech asked.
One of the reasons why families were going through tough times was because society was bent on pleasure and did not want to know about mortification, he said.
"In the contest of a European environment that is morally polluted, we not only have to defend (ourselves) against the current that destroys the family... but we have to be proactive and send a message of hope," he said.
He appealed to families to educate children in human and Christian values in order to prepare for a new political generation.
[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on Times' website.]
Friday, 24 July 2009
Friday, 24th July 2009
Gozo Bishop Mario Grech has reservations on the vision of sexuality and the concept of sexual health being proposed in the recently-published report on the national strategy.
"The fact that we have reached the point where, because of promiscuity, more education on the use of contraceptives at the right time and its medical implications is proposed gives rise to concerns about the ethical fibre of our society," Mgr Grech said.
He was speaking during a Pontifical Mass he led on the feast of St George in Victoria on Sunday.
Mgr Grech said that, in today's society, there were people who were "playing with the nature of marriage, not only those who did not accept that the bond could not be broken but also those who maintained it could be celebrated by a couple of the same sex".
The report by the Social Affairs Committee said education on sexual health had to be prioritised and convey a positive message. Rather than warning people to abstain from sex it should teach them what to do with their sexuality.
The committee said the national sexual health policy should promote education on the use of condoms and contraceptives and how a couple should mature in a relationship.
Information on abstinence and contraceptives had to be clear and free of taboos and prejudice, it said.
It should be based on the values of education and prevention, responsibility and fidelity and should send a clear and focused message, the committee said.
The strategy also had much in common with education in favour of strong relationships and the national policy on the family and their integration would have beneficial effects on society, it concluded.
Wednesday, 22 July 2009
PBS ignores Gay Pride March, MGRM expresses disappointment
The Gay Pride March was held on 18 June in Valletta as part of the activities of DiverCity organised by the MGRM. All media were invited to cover the event, but TVM, the national television station, did not feature the event in its news bulletins.
Gabi Calleya, coordinator for MGRM, told maltastar.com that Public Broadcasting Services, the government media company operating TVM, Radju Malta and other state-owned media should have covered the event. “As a part of society, we do feel that we deserve the same coverage allocated to others. PBS should give a voice to everyone.”
Asked for a reaction on the march, Ms Calleya said that the turnout could have been better. However she was still satisfied that it kept the same levels of previous years. She noted that gay people often shy away from such events for fear of a backlash.
“We are here to say that one should not live his or her life in the closet. However, many homosexuals take a long time to come out in the open and they fear a backlash from their families.”
Yet, she noted that when it came to awareness on gay rights, things have improved.
The same cannot be said for gay rights. “Unfortunately, when it comes to rights things have been going very slow. Apart from working rights, there has been no more improvement. We hope that it does not take a long time for changes in our legal system to take place.”
Tuesday, 21 July 2009
19.7.9 minn John Pisani
Madwar 150 persuna lbieraħ filgħodu ħadu sehem fil-parata annwali organizzata mill-Malta Gay Rights Movement li fiha ħadu sehem ukoll bħala appoġġ ta’ solidarjetà rappreżentanti miż-żewġ naħat tal-Kamra tad-Deputati u diversi għaqdiet fosthom il-GWU Youths.
Il-messaġġ ewlieni kien li l-ugwaljanza hija dritt ta’ kul-ħadd u ħadd m’għandu jkun diskriminat minħabba raġuni-jiet ta’ razza, twemmin jew l-orjentazzjoni sesswali. L-atti-vità tal-bieraħ bdiet minn Mis-raħ il-Ħelsien fil-Belt Valletta b’dawk li ħadu sehem imxew wara streamer li kien jgħid “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention” (Jekk m’intix irrabjat, m’intix attent). Huma mxew fi Triq ir-Repubblika, daru għal Triq San Ġwann, Triq il-Merkanti, Triq Nofsinhar u reġgħu daru għal Misraħ il-Ħelsien minn fejn bdew. Uħud minhom ġarrew tabelli li kienu jgħidu ‘Jien għal separazzjoni mill-Knisja u l-mibgħeda’, ‘Kull ma trid biex tagħmel familja hija l-imħabba’ u ‘Oħorġu minn fejn qiegħdin’.
Fil-parata ħadu sehem il-Moviment Graffitti, Forum Żgħażagħ Laburisti, il-GWU Youths u oħrajn. Magħhom imxew id-deputati laburisti Evarist Bartolo u Owen Bonnici, id-deputat nazzjonalista David Agius u l-Ewroparlamentari Simon Busuttil. Magħhom ingħaqdu wkoll grupp ta’ gays minn Londra.
Kif il-mixja ntemmet f’Misraħ il-Ħelsien saru diskorsi. Evarist Bartolo qal li tajjeb li kull sena ssir din l-attività għax b’hekk tkompli tqajjem kuxjenza favur l-ugwaljanza. Huwa qal li fis-snin li għaddew sar titjib imma għad fadal ħafna xi jsir. Huwa saħaq li d-drittijiet tal-omosesswali huma drittijiet umani u għalhekk l-ugwaljanza hija dritt ta’ kulħadd.
Tkellem ukoll id-deputat laburista Gino Cauchi. Huwa qal li l-Partit Laburista jemmen li kull ċittadin għandu d-drittijiet tiegħu u l-istat għandu jara li dan id-dritt ikun imħares mingħajr ma l-istat jindaħal fil-ħajja privata tal-individwu. Gino Cauchi qal li mill-Oppożizzjoni l-PL jista’ u qed jappoġġa lill-omosesswali u lil dawk kollha li huma fil-minoranza, imma meta jkun fil-Gvern, il-PL se jwettaq dak li jemmen fih.
Tkellmet ukoll Gaby Calleja, il-kordinatriċi tal-MGRM li wriet l-apprezzament għal dawk li attendew u wrew l-appoġġ.
Filwaqt li quddiem grupp ta’ omosesswali l-Ewroparlamentari Nazzjonalista, Simon Busuttil, iddikjara li se jaħdem favur id-drittijiet tal-bniedem, fosthom l-omosesswali, mhux l-istess għamel fil-Parlament Ewropew meta ġie biex jagħti l-vot tiegħu. Simon Busuttil qal li bħala rappreżentant tal-poplu Malti u Għawdxi kollu, hu se jaħdem biex is-soċjetà kollha tintegra ruħha aktar u kulħadd ikun meqjus b’mod ugwali.?? Huwa qal li bħala koordinatur tal-Partit Popolari Ewropew fil-Kumitat tal-Libertajiet Ċivili tal-Parlament Ewropew, jista’ jaħdem aktar favur id-drittijiet tal-bniedem, inkluż id-dritt kontra d-diskriminazzjoni?
Hekk kif temm id-diskors tiegħu kienu diversi persuni gay li qalu lit-Torċa li kien ikun ferm aħjar għal Simon Busuttil u l-Partit Nazzjonalista li ma ġie xejn jew ma fetaħx ħalqu, għax kompla jurta lill-kommunità gay f’Malta. Huma qalulna li huwa fatt magħruf li meta kien hemm vot x’jittieħed favur l-omosesswali, Simon Busuttil ma weriex l-istess sentimenti kif tkellem quddiemhom ilbieraħ.
If only there was no more need for Gay Pride marches.
I've just come back home after a week in Malta where I had the opportunity to walk alongside gay, lesbian, bisexual and straight people through Valletta's main thoroughfares in the island's sixth gay pride march.
Taken in themselves, the number of those who actually turned up was nothing to write home about. Seen in the context of Malta's closely-knit community, on the other hand, it was breathtaking to see such an overt manifestation of solidarity between individuals hailing from different backgrounds and walks of life. What united them was one thing: the vision of a fair society where everyone is treated equally.
There were young people and older ones, Maltese nationals and visitors from other countries, the country's most popular MEP Simon Busuttil, Government and Opposition MPs (David Agius, Evarist Bartolo, Owen Bonnici, Gino Cauchi), PN and MLP local councillors, journalists and newspaper columnists, persons with disability, civil service employees and professional practitioners, religious and non-religious individuals... There were also a good number of NGOs such as Graffitti, the General Workers' Union Youths, the Forum Zghazagh Laburisti (which has gone as far as to set up an LGBT group within itself), the Moviment Zghazagh Partit Nazzjonalista and the Christian Gay Group DRACHMA.
Surfing through the online press reports of the event, I have noticed several comments by (presumably) straight readers in the online press who fail to see why gay people need to parade holding rainbow flags and colourful balloons. "Why shouldn't gays keep their sexuality to themselves?" they argue. "Straight people don't go about flaunting their sexuality, after all." How mistaken they are. One's sexuality cannot be confined to the bedroom, as some (presumably straight) people opine. One's sexuality determines not only who one is intimate with, but also whom one falls in love with, gets into a relationship with and/or, where it is possible, gets married to. This is where the social, public aspect comes in.
Heterosexuality is flaunted all the time, everywhere. Certainly, straight people do not need an annual parade for their sexual orientation to be acknowledged. Hetero people talk about their husbands and wives, sport marriage rings, appear in all adverts aimed at the family, in school books... In our society, you are presumed to be straight. A society which overlooks the fact that between 5 and 10% of its population has a sexual orientation that differs from that of the majority, is bound to discriminate against this sizeable minority.
Gay people are discriminated against both for being different - e.g. through lack of protection against unfair treatment as a result of other people's prejudices, in not being allowed to donate blood, in being charged higher health insurance premiums in certain cases etc - as well as a result of their relationships not being sanctioned by the Law. Gays are not only denied the opportunity to partake in the riches of marriage - inheritance rights, joint tax computations, eligibility for housing schemes etc - but also in its richness. The message they get from the State and from society is that their love is not as valid as heterosexual love.
A few years ago, I was chatting with a former prominent Nationalist politician about the need for change in the local civil liberties sphere. He threw at me a saying in Italian: "Tardare si, scappare no." He had no doubt that, in spite of the opposition by those who favour a society that discriminates between its own citizens, we should go on believing that things will eventually change, and strive towards that noble goal. We are already seeing things budge. Who would have foretold the presence of two PN politicians in Saturday's gay pride march? It was only in 2003 when the reply the Malta Gay Rights Movement got from the PN to its request for a bilateral meeting was that the party-in-government felt the time was not yet ripe for such a meeting to take place.
We have a dream of a country - eventually a whole world - where everyone is treated equally. Until that dream comes true, the Valletta Gay Pride march will remain an annual rendez-vous.
[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on MaltaStar's website.]
Monday, 20 July 2009
Folla ta' madwar 150 persuna attendiet ghall-Gay Pride March li sar il-bierah filghodu fi Triq ir-Repubblika fil-Belt Valletta.
L-attivitajiet li kienet organizzata mill-Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM) saret bhala parti mid-Diversity Week 2009 u li biha gew fi tmiemhom bost attivitajiet li ttellghu matul il-gimgha.
Din is-sena l-mixja kellha sinifikat specjali ghax fakkret l-40 anniversarju mill-irvellijiet ta’ Stonewall li saru wara attakk omofobiku li kien twettaq mill-pulizija fi New York.
Ghall-Gay Pride tal-bierah attendew rapprezentanti mill-partiti politici, trade unions u anke NGOs.
Waqt il-mixja spikkaw kartelluni b'messaggi kontra l-omofobija u favur id-distakk bejn l-istat u l-knisja u bziezaq bil-kuluri tal-qawsalla, li tissimbolizza l-komunità gay.
Il-kordinattrici tal-MGRM, Gabi Calleja, qa let li l-moviment se jibqa' jiggieled sakemm issir gustizzja mal-persuni omosesswali.
Id-deputat Laburista Evarist Bartolo qal li l-persuni gay ghandhom id-dritt li jinghataw id-drittijiet li jisthoqqilhom ghax huma umani.
Prezenti ghal dan il-Pride March kien hemm ukoll id-deputati Laburisti Gino Cauchi u Owen Bonnici, u bosta membri tal-Forum Zghazagh Laburisti u anke tal-General Workers Union Youths.
19.7.9 by DAVID DARMANIN
Politicians from the Labour and Nationalist Party yesterday agreed on the need for legal changes to ensure gay rights at yesterday’s annual pride march in Valletta, organised by the Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM) to mark the end of international ‘DiversCity’ week.
Though yesterday’s march registered an improvement in turnout over last year, the event only attracted an odd 80 people, including representatives of political parties and civil rights groups.
Members of the General Workers’ Union, Moviment Graffitti, Zminijietna, Altrenattiva Demokratika, as well as the PN and PL marched along with the group. Among the attendees were Nationalist MEP Simon Busuttil; Labour MPs Evarist Bartolo and Owen Bonnici; Sliema PN councillor Cyrus Engerer; and AD candidate Yvonne Ebejer Arqueros. Also present were members from Labour’s lesbian-gay-bi-transgender (LGBT) committee.
Instead, a massive multicoloured balloon arch was carried by demonstrators, who also manifested placards delivering messages of acceptance. “Human rights are family values,” one placard read. Others conveyed messages such as: “Come out, come out wherever you are”; “We’re everywhere”; “I’m straight but not narrow”; and “Love is all it takes to make a family”.
After a walk round the blocks between City Gate and St John’s Co-Cathedral, the crowd gathered in Freedom Square, with MGRM president Gaby Calleja calling out for Labour MP Gino Cauchi so he could deliver his speech. Cauchi however had not yet arrived by that time.
Instead, Labour MP Evarist Bartolo made an impromptu speech calling out for a “change in law, mentality and attitude”, since “although a lot has been done, we still need to work very hard to achieve true equality… human rights are gay rights.”
Also calling out for “a change in law – where necessary, and a change in mentality”, Nationalist MEP Simon Busuttil said he was there as both a civil liberties committee member within the EP, as well as on behalf of the PN. “I represent you all,” he told the crowd. “I understand that you represent a section within the community, which for a number of reasons does not feel respected.”
Labour MP Gino Cauchi, arriving after a Labour conference in Valletta, said: “The PL believes in civil rights, whatever one’s sexual orientation,” he assured. “We all agree on this, but we must now make the leap to change words into facts.”
L-attivitajiet organizzati mill-Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM) bħala parti mid-‘Diverscity Week 2009’ jiġu fi tmiemhom illum is-Sibt meta fil-Belt Valletta, dalgħodu, isir l-LGBT Pride March, waqt li filgħaxija, fis-City Theatre jittella’ ‘Sounds of Diversity – l-ewwel kunċert tax-xorta tiegħu f’pajjiżna bis-sehem tal-banda u l-kor ‘ŻĦN Symphonik’ flim-kien ma’ ‘The Pink Singers’, li huwa l-eqdem kor fl-Ewropa ffurmat minn persuni LGBT li jifformaw parti mill-komunità gay f’Londra iżda li ġejjin minn esperjenzi, pajjiżi, razez, reliġjonijiet u ġenerazzjonijiet dif-ferenti.
Bħal fil-bqija tal-pajjiżi fejn saru manifestazzjonijiet simili, il-Pride March ta’ Malta din is-sena għandu sinifikat speċjali għax qiegħed ifakkar l-erbgħin anniversarju minn meta seħħew l-irvellijiet ta’ Stonewall bi protesta kontra rejd omofobiku li bħal mijiet ta’ drabi oħra qabel, il-pulizija kienu wettqu fis-sigħat bikrin tal-għodwa tat-28 ta’ Ġunju, 1969, fl-istabbiliment Stonewall Inn, fis-subborg ta’ Greenwich Village fil-belt ta’ New York.
Dakinhar kienet l-ewwel darba fl-istorja Amerikana fejn persuni gay u lesbjani ġġieldu kontra sistema governattiva li kienet tippersegwita persuni omosesswali. Kien ukoll il-punt tat-tluq f’ħidma sfiqa favur drittijiet ċivili ndaqs għal per-suni gay kemm fl-Istati Uniti tal-Amerika u kif ukoll madwar id-dinja.
Sunday, 19 July 2009
Terry Shaw has been living in Gozo since 2005, retiring there after a career in the Performing Arts. He has a BA degree in Music as well as several music diplomas. He has sung, played the piano and acted all over the UK and in other countries since the age of 14 – a period of 57 years. He took his cabaret act round the world, including on cruise ships. For 32 years he was a teacher, lecturer and head of department in schools and a college; and for the last nine years of his working life he was general manager and artistic director of the Stag Theatre in Sevenoaks, Kent, England. Terry has directed and been musical director for a long list of musicals and plays. Since moving to Gozo, he has continued singing and playing in cabaret. His current project is the open air concert performance of the musical for which he has written the music, Besieged!, based on the story of the 1551 Ottoman attack on Gozo and the legend of Don Bernardo the performance, under the patronage of the President of Malta and under the auspices of Din l’Art Helwa, is on 31 July at the Citadel in Victoria.
How old are you? Star sign and date of birth?
70. Virgo. 4 September 1938.
What would you like to be doing in 10 years’ time?
I shall be happy just to be alive at 80! I intend still to be active however, but I’m not a long-term planner. This avoids disappointment when things don’t turn out as planned.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
To be surrounded by those I love and who love me.
What is your favourite occupation?
Performing. I love singing and playing the piano – although arthritis is creeping up on me and I can’t play like I once could. I also love composing, especially setting words to music. I shall be in my element conducting and directing the open-air concert performance of Besieged!, at the end of this month. It is exciting to hear one’s own music brought to life and it will be a thrill to do this performance in the place where the events occurred.
I have a same-sex partner. We have been together for 31 years. I wish that the strong conservative forces in Malta realised that same-sex relationships are not a threat and that sexuality is not a matter of choice.
What is your greatest fear?
I am terrified of snakes – a real phobia.
What is it that you most value in your friends?
How would you like to die?
What is your greatest extravagance?
Long-haul holidays and flying Business Class.
What is your greatest regret?
I’m not one for regretting things. I’ve had, and am still having, a wonderful life, but I wish I’d been more successful in performing.
What is your most treasured possession?
My grand piano.
Which talent would you most like to have apart from the ones you already have?
To paint and know more about the visual arts.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Where would you like to live?
I find it difficult to answer this. I don’t easily attach myself to places and put down roots. There’s bit of the gypsy in me, which is why I’m in Gozo. I’ve often said I want to see the whole world – impossible, of course.
What is your most marked characteristic?
I have always been energetic and hate to be idle. I also tend to want to “put the world to rights”, which makes me intolerant.
Who are your heroes/heroines in real life?
Those who devote their lives to the good of others. I wish I could be so selfless.
What is it that you most dislike?
Religious fanaticism. I can’t understand why faith in something plainly impossible is a virtue.
What is your motto?
Do it now.
Gay pride march held in Valletta
A number of participants were holding placards and banners such as “if you are not outraged, you’re not paying attention” and “I am for the separation of Chuch and State.”
Part of the activities include a film festival and a concert.
The march was attended by Labour Party MPs Evarist Bartolo, Owen Bonnici, Nationalist Party’s MEP Simon Busuttil, Forum Zghazagh Laburisti and Moviment Graffitti.
“We want to be treated as equal citizens of this country and other countries we live in,” said Gabriella Calleja, coordinator of the Malta Gay Rights Movement during the annual Gay Pride Parade that took place in the streets of Valletta yesterday morning.
A sizeable crowd of people walked behind a banner with the words: “If you’re not outraged you’re not paying attention”, whistling, carrying rainbow flags, colourful balloons and small banners each with some food for thought.
“I am for the separation of church and hate”, “Human rights are family values”, “Straight but not narrow”, “Love is all it takes to make a family”, “I vote and pay taxes” and similar messages against homophobia among messages of encouragement for gay people to come out and be themselves.
Ms Calleja said that bullying gay people at schools and places of work was still going on, creating difficulties for gay people to come out or get married and live a normal life like other citizens. Ms Calleja also spoke of new laws that were being passed in EU countries such as Lithuania, which discriminate against homosexuality.
“Change is possible and we want it to happen,” Ms Calleja said.
A gay person participating in the event, Gattaldo, told The Malta Independent on Sunday that while political parties, including the Labour Party, Nationalist Party and Alternattiva Demokratika, have been promising to improve the way of life of gay people, promises have been too vague. While, explaining that he was married in the UK, he said that Malta needed to recognise civil partnership for gay people.
Recently a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender group was set up in Forum Zghazagh Laburisti with the aim of representing these people in the party through direct representation.
The group has been meeting gay people to discuss their needs and eventually present proposals to the party agenda before the next general election. They believe that our country still lacks much when it comes to representation of gay and lesbian people and the group has made it a point that the party statute states that there should never be discrimination against these people.
Their group also has an educative purpose, which is to achieve a culture change in society. They pointed out that while the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality assisted disabled persons or migrants who faced discrimination, they felt gay people did not get the same treatment.
They also spoke of reparative therapy, which is practiced by some psychologists in Malta supposedly to help gay people become heterosexual.
While this practice is little known to the public, such therapy is in fact detrimental to the people involved and, according to foreign statistics, some 30 per cent of the cases could be suicidal.
The LGBT group within the PL was to join Rainbow Rose, the LGBT group within the European Socialist Party.
Meanwhile, Mario Gerada from Drachma, an LGBT Catholic-Christian group, which aims to help people integrate spirituality with their sexuality, also gave his comments. He explained that gay people share a lot of values, such as love, relationships between two persons, unity of people and the ideal of eliminating discrimination and prejudice, with the Catholic and Christian Church. On the other hand, a lot of discussion on faith takes place that goes against faith itself, he said. Thus group members try to understand themselves and build a strong relationship with God by questioning themselves and discussing matters with the rest of society.
Moviment Graffiti also reiterated its position in favour of LGBT rights and called for authorities to implement more effectively and strengthen legislation that protects LGBT persons from discrimination. It also spoke of the need to move from the concept of tolerance to that of rights.
MEP Simon Busuttil and MPs David Agius, Evarist Bartolo, Owen Bonnici and Gino Cauchi participated in the event together with General Workers Union members, representatives of Moviment Zghazagh Partit Nazzjonalista.
The parade was also attended by a good number of foreigners and heterosexual people.
Addressing the crowd towards the end of the event, Labour Party representative Evarist Bartolo said that although the country has moved forward in its perception of gay people and rights, much still needs to be done. He said that gay rights are human rights, therefore gay people should have the same rights like all other people.
PN MEP Simon Busuttil said that he represented all Maltese people including gays and lesbians at EU level and at party level.
He believed that laws and people’s mentality needed to change for gay people to feel part of society. Explaining his participation in the EU committee for Civil Liberty, Dr Busuttil promised to work for better inclusion of gay people.
Times: Gay Pride parade held in Valletta
Saturday, 18th July 2009 - 11:20CET
«Click here to watch the video on the Times' website.»
A gay pride parade was held in Valletta this morning, the highlight of a week of activities, called DiverCITY Week, held by the Malta Gay Rights Movement.
This morning's event was attended by a crowd of some 150 and representatives of the two political parties, trade unions and some NGOs involved in the social sector.
Some of those present carried placards which read: Separate Church and State, Show who you are and We are Everywhere.
DiverCITY Week has included a film festival. There will be a concert this evening in which The Pink Singers (London) and Zghazagh Haddiema Nsara will take part.
The national sexual health policy should not warn people to abstain from sex but educate them on the use of condoms and contraceptives, the Social Affairs Committee has decided.
Education in favour of sexual health had to be prioritised in the policy together with how a couple could mature in a relationship.
Information on abstinence and contraceptives had to be clear and free of taboos and prejudice and a campaign should be launched according to age and area. Some required a more persistent approach due to particular social conditions.
Educators were, however, faced with the prevalent attitude of youths that "what happens to others would not happen to them".
Genitourinary clinic director Philip Carabott, who met the committee, maintained that 30 minutes of sexual health education in personal and social development (PSD) lessons was too little and the education reform should address the matter.
As regards a television campaign in favour of sexual health, he pointed out that adverts of a social nature were no longer permitted for free, which was increasing the burden on the Health Promotion Department.
The committee felt family doctors had a vital role to play both in education on sexually transmitted diseases and also in the case of research on the subject, which was lacking. They should study the particular local problems, it was suggested.
Statistics available were only the tip of the pyramid and doctors had the responsibility to notify the authorities on the sexually transmitted diseases they came across in accordance with the law and for the good of society.
The need for more responsibility and coordination between specialists was also felt and guidelines were required in this regard.
The committee will be holding a series of meetings for stakeholders to avoid confusion through mixed messages.
It has recommended an interactive programme on the internet, offering students the opportunity to learn more about sexual health, while sex education programmes should be set up in the community for youths who have finished school, are more at risk, or living in relative poverty.
The committee pointed out that the GU clinic could not remain the only place where people could seek help and cure. Its services had to be replicated, particularly in Gozo, where there were no similar services.
The number of persons infected by sexual diseases continued to increase over the years, raising alarm bells because the number of infected Maltese could potentially be much higher.
According to the World Health Organisation, due to Malta's culture, size and geography, about 13,000 persons could be infected every year.
In 2000, the GU clinic, which compiled the data, had 760 patients. These shot up to 2,221 in 2007, during which year 75 per cent were new, 40 were aged between 15 and 24, another 40 were over 40 years old, 71 per cent were single and 18 married.
The majority (89 per cent) of patients were heterosexuals and most attended the clinic on a personal initiative; 17.6 per cent were referred by a doctor and 3.7 per cent by Caritas.
Another preoccupation is the increasing percentage of causal sexual relations and the fact that infected persons do not know from whom they contracted the disease. This could be the result of being under excessive influence of alcohol and drugs.
Moreover, 70 per cent of the clinic's users have said they never used contraceptives.
[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times'website.]
Friday, 17 July 2009
Times: Church anti-divorce report - Civil court should get defender of marriage - 'Divorce would only make situation worse'
Saturday, 18th July 2009 by Kurt Sansone
The civil courts should adopt the Church tribunal's concept of having a third person defending the marriage itself when treating annulment cases, according to Pro Vicar General Mgr Anton Gouder.
The Church yesterday made its case against divorce in reaction to the Martin Scicluna report published by The Today Public Policy Institute in May, which had advocated the introduction of divorce legislation.
The 31-page Church report concluded that, from a social perspective, Malta did not need to introduce divorce because the situation of broken families would only be made worse.
Asked to comment on whether civil annulment was the "Maltese way out" to be able to re-marry as suggested by some lawyers, Mgr Gouder said it was wrong if couples obtained an annulment simply because they agreed between themselves. He insisted that an annulment was not simply a case of one individual against the other but of a couple against the institution of marriage.
"It is for this reason that the Church tribunal, which has years of experience in dealing with failed marriages, has an official who acts as the defender of the bond when deciding on annulment cases. The civil courts should adopt a similar principle and have an official who makes the case for the marriage irrespective of what the individual parties say," Mgr Gouder said.
The report highlighted a number of what it termed as faults in Mr Scicluna's document insisting that it was based on wrong statistical data, material that was not sourced and unsubstantiated statements.
It disputed the argument that divorce should be introduced because there were a number of negative social situations in society. None of the social ills could be healed or diminished by divorce.
On the contrary, from a social perspective, divorce would only make the situation worse, the Church report argued.
It also contested the fact that the introduction of divorce would reduce the number of cohabiting couples.
Backing his argument by foreign research, Mgr Gouder said that what sounded logical was however contradicted by facts, which showed that in other countries the number of cohabiting couples actually went up despite the presence of divorce.
The report described as "contradictory" Mr Scicluna's argument that those who were pro-divorce were also in favour of marriage. "They are in favour of the marriage they wish to enter into while, at the same time, they disregard their first marriage," Mgr Gouder said. He insisted that research showed that second and third marriages proved to be less stable than the first.
The report, For Worse Not For Better, was compiled by Progett Impenn, a Church initiative in favour of families and marriage and made up of representatives from the Diocesan Family Commission, Caritas and the Cana Movement. The title is a reference to the Scicluna report called: For Worse, For Better: Re-Marriage After Legal Separation.
[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]
Read the complete Chuch's document here: http://www.maltadiocese.org/file.aspx?f=8686
Times: Church makes case against divorce
Friday, 17th July 2009 - 13:01CET
Malta does not need divorce, a report conducted by the church insists.
The report, “For Worse Not for Better”, is a reaction to the Martin Scicluna report which advocated the introduction of divorce.
It was compiled by Progett Impenn, which is made up of representatives from the Diocesan Family Commission, Caritas and the Cana Movement.
Mgr Anton Gouder said the Scicluna report could be faulted on a number of matters including lack of proper sources, wrong data and unsubstantiated statements.
The church report disputed the argument made that divorce should be introduced because there were a number of negative social situations in society. It argued that none of these social ills could be healed or diminished by divorce.
Moreover, from a social perspective, divorce would only make the situation worse.
The church contested the fact that the introduction of divorce would reduce the number of cohabiting couples backing its arguments by foreign research. It said that what sounded logical was contradicted by facts.
Mgr Gouder said that “those who were not part of the solution to the problem were part of the problem”.
Asked to comment on whether people were annulling to still have the right to remarry in spite of the non-existence of divorce, Mgr Gouder said that when a couple were going through an annulment process, it was not a case of one person against another but of a couple against the institution of marriage.
The principle adopted in the Church Tribunal of having a defender of the bond should also be adopted in the civil court when deciding on annulment cases.
Asked whether it was discriminatory that Malta recognised divorce obtained from foreign courts, Mgr Gouder said that discrimination was when people in the same situation were treated differently.
“The law stipulates that a Maltese court can recognise a divorce obtained abroad if either of the couple were domiciled in that country. This is not discrimination because the situation is different,” he said.
[Click on the hyperlink at the top to view the comments on the Times' website.]
Read the complete Chuch's document here: http://www.maltadiocese.org/file.aspx?f=8686