Friday, 11 February 2011

Malta Today: ‘'Ridiculous' to bring up gay marriage now – Nationalist MP Karl Gouder

Tuesday, February 08, 2011 By Nestor Laiviera

Nationalist MP Karl Gouder: 'PN must take stance on divorce'

The issues of divorce, IVF, and cohabitation are of higher priority than same-sex, says Nationalist MP Karl Gouder.

Nationalist MP Karl Gouder said it is "ridiculous" for him as a gay MP to bring up the issue of same-sex marriage at a time when the general public is already divided on other issues that merit more priority.

During an interview with weekly newspaper Illum Gouder said he himself was in favour of same sex marriage, saying that everyone should have equal rights, even in the matter of adoption.

But he said discussion on same-sex marriage and adoption can only start after the public tackles other issues currently dominating the public sphere.

Asked why he came out openly about his sexual orientation in a political culture that is not particularly receptive to such displays, Gouder maintained that he was raised and educated to be himself and take a stand on what be believes in. "I come from a Jesuit school. I always learned that, in life, one must try one's best to do good, respect others, and be honest with oneself. This is Karl Gouder, and this is what I stand for," he said.

He told interviewer and Illum editor Julia Farrugia that only good came out of 'coming out' openly. "If little else, other gay people approached me and told me that I had given them a glimmer of hope with what I had done," he said.

Gouder also agreed that the PN should take a stand on divorce, and insisted that there is no room for the party to hide behind vague statements. "It is our duty to say whether the PN agrees or not," he said. "I think the country is quite divided on the issue, but the PN has more to lose if it does not take a stand on the issue."

Asked about Minister Austin Gatt's ultimatum that he would resign from parliament if the party pronounced itself in favour of divorce, Gouder maintained that "nobody is bigger than the party."

"If anyone feels that his or her principles supersede the decision taken, then he or she should step aside," he said. Emphasising that Gatt was always loyal to the party, he said that that the "real damage" would have been in Gatt held the government in ransom by threatening to destabilise the government if the PN opted to support the introduction of divorce.

Asked however if Gatt's grandstanding was significant in the light that he has already announced his intention to withdrawn from politics come election time, Gouder said that a lot can happen in two years.

"I admire him, but I didn't do the same. I admire the fact that for him, the divorce issue is something significant," he said. "I didn't do likewise because I am comfortable as I am."

"We all have our own principles from which we do not budge," Gouder said however.

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