Saturday, 10 December 2011

Times: Is Eddie Fenech Adami anti-gay?
Sunday, November 27, 2011, by Fr Joe Borg

While Eddie Fenech Adami expects gays to have basic rights he is against diluting the concept of marriage by equating it with same-sex relationships. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi

Last week, President Emeritus Eddie Fenech Adami expressed his opinion about gay marriages. His position is that we should not legalise gay marriage or give it a status as if a real marriage was to be expected. His opinion also reflects the position of the vast majority of the Maltese, according to a number of surveys.

The so-called liberal lobby is so quaint. Dr Fenech Adami was dubbed as anti-liberal because his position on divorce did not reflect that of the majority. Now he is also being dubbed as a conservative, although his position reflects that of the majority. Heads you win, tails I lose!

Some want us to believe that Dr Fenech Adami is against gay rights. This description is an unfair one, though we have become accustomed to this kind of tarring at the hands of the so-called liberal lobby.

Dr Fenech Adami, like many others, is for gay rights as much as he is for marriage rights; so while he expects gays to have basic rights, he does not subscribe to diluting the concept of marriage by including same-sex relationships.

Quite naturally, those who believe gay marriage is a right would be logical to consider anyone of a different opinion to be against gay rights.

However, the question we are faced with is whether the legalisation of gay marriage is or is not a basic right. The answer to this question indicates the kind of society we want to live in.

The Nationalist Party last Sunday approved a document outlining its vision for Maltese society. Dr Fenech Adami’s opinion was sought in the context of this document, entitledL-Għeruq Tagħna (Our roots).

In parenthesis, it would be interesting to know whether The Times asked for the opinion of the former President about the document or whether he was asked for his opinion just about gay marriages. Questions reveal the biases of the interviewer as much as answers reveal the opinions of the respondent.

L-Għeruq Tagħna has been described as an updated version of Fehmiet Bażiċi – the 1986 PN policy document which outlined the party’s vision. Though, in my opinion the style and the content of Għeruq do not reach the high standards reached by Fehmiet, it is still very positive that a political party publishes its vision and updates it from time to time.

The socio-political and economic scenario today is very different from that which existed in 1986. In that year, the struggle was to rebuild a true democratic environment. The main problem today is economic.

The strongest institutions then were the political parties and the Church; today we have a very strong civil society sector. There is today more religious pluralism and a stronger segment of agnosticism or non-belief, though the cultural infrastructure of Catholicism is still very strong.

But a political party needs to declare its DNA and display its identity card. Our pluralistic environment makes it more mandatory for a party to declare what it stands for.

Today’s attitude that politics has been reduced to the exercise of different management skills and styles has to be combated by the declaration of clear political objectives.

The type of change evidenced in Għeruq is of an evolutionary kind, so much so that the links between Fehmiet and Għeruq are both clear and vibrant. Even an evolutionary change can be a radical one, as the adoption of basic values to new realities and the weaving of a new synthesis to address new situations is not a mean feat.

The opinions of Dr Fenech Adami on gay marriage fit well within these parameters, which propose the full respect of people’s relationships within the basic societal commitment for marriage between a man and a woman. Għeruq, I think, makes this position very clear.

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

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