Monday, 1 February 2010

Times: Marriage and diversity

Monday, 1st February 2010 by Josie Muscat, leader, Azzjoni Nazzjonali, Marsascala

I greatly admire our President George Abela for speaking out in favour of the family. I also admire his readiness not to be just an ornament of state. I am one of those who believe that the President's role should be revised to enable the office holder to have a hand on the helm of state. But that is another issue.

The President has been criticised for speaking out in favour of the traditional family. He did not exclude justice for other relationships (I don't call them alternative families) nor, to my knowledge, did he deny that every citizen should enjoy the full rights and obligations that are his due. But I find it strange that in a world that constantly tells us to respect diversity, there are those who want to apply the word marriage to any union, permanent or temporary, legal or otherwise, traditional or not. Either we respect diversity or we don't. I have had occasion to show in practice that I accept diversity among my employees. It is the quality of their work I care about, not their sexual orientation.

Of course it is more than a matter of semantics; it always is. But marriage means the union between a man and a woman and the offspring it might produce. The term civil union with full civic rights is reserved for same-sex unions. The family needs supporting because it is only the family that can procreate with all that it means to society. Same-sex marriages cannot unless they adopt, and that is a different issue.

Once both kinds of unions are put on the same footing, it is marriage that will lose out. And when marriage loses out, it is society in its totality that has to carry the burden.

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

Times' comment:
Gabi Calleja
The President did not speak in faviour of the family but in favour of married couples with children. All other families, which you term relationships, were excluded. This does not constitute respect for diversity but prejudice and an inability to move with the times. A mother and her child are family; a married couple who chose not to have children are family; a couple and their adoptive or foster children are family; a lesbian mother, her biological child and her partner who is coparenting (although with no legal rights or obligations towards the child) are family. The president excluded justice for same-sex unions because justice is only possible with equality, which only equal access to marriage can bring. Civil union, while a step in the right direction is not equality. Intorducing marriage equality in no way weakens marriage except in the eyes of those who look at same-sex relationships as having less value and worth than those between opposite sex couples. I would also have thought that Dr Muscat would be aware that gay men and lesbians are not sterile and can actually have their own biological children and need not resort to adoption.

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