Friday, 22 January 2010

Times: Gay rights do not harm institution of marriage

Friday, 22nd January 2010 by Patrick Attard Naxxar

Pope Benedict XVI has once again talked about the perils of homosexuality to humanity (, January 11) while referring to the introduction of gay marriage in Portugal in the coming months. The Pope will be in Malta in April, for a visit which, according to the Prime Minister's Christmas speech, will unite the whole country. I like to see our polarised country united yet I am not rejoicing at the Pope's visit.

On October 1, 1986, when the Pope (then Josef Ratzinger) was Prefect of the Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith, he sent a letter to all bishops saying that it was understandable that violent crimes against gays increase, if the state awards them more civil rights.

It was equally sad to read some of the posted comments on - comments that generally mean that the introduction of gay marriage or civil partnership would bring about the end of the world.

One year on from my excommunication from the Catholic Church, I am even more convinced that gay people have no place in this organisation especially under the current Pope. Archbishop Paul Cremona (The Sunday Times, January 10) doesn't see non-believers or people of a different sexuality as a threat. It's a shame that Mgr Cremona's wise words, compassion and humility as a great bridge-builder, is thwarted by a man who is obsessed about the evils of homosexuality.

The civil rights I am talking about are the right for a man to visit his gay partner in hospital and take medical decisions in case of an emergency. The right to take urgent family-leave from work to take care of a seriously ill partner; the right to take bereavement leave from work when your partner dies; immigration rights for people who want to marry a partner who is not an EU citizen. These rights do not in any way harm the institution of marriage.

I also get the impression that the current Administration is not keen on awarding any rights and maybe they think it's better for gay people to emigrate and go to other European cities.

I think this is a huge mistake and a big loss for Malta not only for the artistic talent but for all other professional areas too. Other countries will take advantage of the excellent Maltese education invested in the gay Maltese population.

I hope that the Prime Minister will one day wake up and listen to the forgotten people and won't see us as a threat to the country. I wish for the dawning of a day when different people of different beliefs and sexual orientations can live in harmony as citizens with equal rights.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]

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