Tuesday, 27 April 2010

MaltaToday: [Karl] Gouder – ‘wait and see’ stance on cohabitation, gay rights

25.4.10 by Gerald Fenech

The Nationalist Party’s executive committee yesterday elected the first openly gay MP to Parliament to replace Michael Frendo, who was appointed Speaker to replace Louis Galea, who in turn took up a post with the European Court of Auditors.
Karl Gouder, 31, from St Julian’s, told MaltaToday he was looking forward to the challenge of being the youngest MP on the government side, whilst also thanking his family and friends who assisted him in his campaign for the 2008 general election.
Asked what would his stance be with regards to gay rights and co-habitation, Gouder said he would adopt a ‘wait and see’ stance for the time being.
“However my position on these issues is clear and when the time comes I will make my voice heard in the appropriate fora,” Gouder said.
The coordinator of the Malta Gay Rights Movement, Gabi Calleja, welcomed news of an MP who was honest about his sexual orientation.
“We have to wait and see if he will be effective in changing the government’s stance on gay rights although I am sceptical that the official policy will change. However we hope to meet him shortly and discuss how our agenda can be put forward and also hope that if there are other MPs who are silent about their sexual orientation, this move will encourage them to go public too,” Calleja said.
Gouder, co-opted from the 10th district, easily fought off the challenge of Pippo Psaila, the other candidate who was seen as his major challenger, garnering 31 votes to Psaila’s 19.
Gouder was until recently the PN’s assistant information officer, working closely with chief information officer Frank Psaila. Well-positioned inside the party, Gouder was seen as a natural choice to take up the seat vacated by Frendo on his appointment as Speaker.
Whether or not Gouder’s co-option to parliament will mark a turning point in the PN’s approach to gay rights is yet to be seen: Gouder forms part of a new generation of Nationalist politicians which have been keen to see the party take a more progressive stance on gay issues.
PN Sliema councillor and gay rights activist Cyrus Engerer recently criticised the government for not doing anything about cohabiting rights for heterosexual and homosexual partners.
A law regulating cohabitation is in the works after being first included in the Nationalist Party’s electoral programme of 1998. The party has often been criticised for dragging its feet on it.
Speaking at a debate on homosexuality in Malta, organised by student group Move on the University campus, Engerer criticised his own party for not having clear policies on the issue.
“We can’t keep on speaking about discrimination, marriage and adoption as if gays were any different,” the Malta Gay Rights Movement activist said after commending Alternattiva Demokratika for being the only party that was clear in its policies on homosexuals.
Engerer said the party had members who were homosexual and he had no problem contesting the local council elections, even though he was openly gay. “The Prime Minister had said he had no problem with his candidates being gay as long as they had no problem with it,” Engerer said.

See also:

Independent: Stay out of the pigeonhole, Karl [Gouder], by Daphne Caruana Galizia


  1. mhux hazin hux? ahjar b'wiehed minn taghna gewwa l-parlament milli le ghalkemm xorta nazzjonalist. nispera li mhux konservattiv jew religjuz, forsi naraw xi bidla fl-attitudni tal-gvern ghax minn naha tal-president ghalkemm kien gej minn labout background xorta iktar konservattiv minn ratzinger innifsu ostra jaq!!

  2. What has this celebrated gay MP done for the gay and lesbian movement? Or is he still waiting for the appropriate fora? Perhaps a gay bar in Brussels where he can join David Casa for a meeting.