13 July 2011 by Annaliza Borg
48 hours before the vote on the introduction of the divorce bill, Minister Austin Gatt said in parliament that abortion and euthanasia are "the next step" and thinks people should clearly voice their opinions on these matters before the next election.
Dr Gatt said he heard nothing during the parliamentary debate that has led him to change his opinion against divorce. He will not judge others on their vote and wishes the same from others. "I will vote on what I believe is right," he said.
His beliefs were not based on religion, although he was Catholic, he said, adding that his views on matters of conscience and morality were from the lay, not confessional, aspects.
On all matters, especially conscience, the decision should not be based on what suited MPs personally but the common good of society.
Some claimed that divorce was a civil right and people who were against divorce should not impose their views on those who were in favour, Dr Gatt observed. Civil rights, he said existed only when they were recognised by Parliament, not like human rights which were automatic.
Up to some time ago, adultery and homosexual behaviour were considered a crime. It was Parliament that decriminalised them in the interests of society.
Dr Gatt said all those countries who approved same-sex marriage said it was a civil right and the same arguments were made about abortion and euthanasia, with some saying that a woman had a right over her body, in reference to abortion.
"One would be short-sighted if one did not recognise that on the basis of the same arguments, the next steps in Malta would be efforts to introduce same-sex marriages, abortion and euthanasia," he said.
Dr Gatt said he could never back something which was against society and because of growing relativism in society. He called for all concerned to make their position clear on what he had said about euthanasia and abortion.