25 March 2012 by Caroline Galea
I was born in London in the later years of the Swinging Sixties. The Beatles were the rage, women were seeking sexual independence and it was considered cool to hang out and smoke pot. I was also brought up in a stable Maltese Catholic family unit and trained to respect and appreciate the teachings of the Church and traditional family values.
Societies change and Malta has not been immune to this change. The dynamics of society are set to change again if one considers the recent claims for the introduction of same-sex marriages in Malta. As a defender and promoter of the traditional family unit, I feel I must also express my opinion on this subject.
For the sake of this article, I will refer to the act of marriage between man and woman as a traditional marriage. I start by making clear that I accept that same gender relationships exist and understand that these people also have rights and needs. I recognise that these people are valued members of our society, some even close friends of mine, and I would never dare discriminate against them based on their sexual orientation. It would be hypocritical of me to campaign for the rights of women and then pigeonhole or ostracise LGBTs. For me, this is no minority group issue since we are all entitled to the same dignity and rights and the freedom to fight for better respect and equality where this is lacking.
Promoters of same sex marriages claim that a huge stigma surrounds the introduction of this union and that marriage equality should be introduced since these couples are currently denied access to the protections, benefits and responsibilities extended to married couples in a traditional marriage. Same sex marriage was introduced in The Netherlands in 2001 followed by several more countries and is currently on the agenda for its introduction in a number of other countries. No sooner had the dust settled down here in Malta, following the introduction of divorce last year than the traditional family unit was once again under attack with calls for the introduction of same sex marriages in our country as well.
The situation beggars belief! In this fiercely Christian country where minds are still reeling from the Church-opposed introduction of divorce, we are suddenly and prematurely facing another attempt to undermine the traditional family unit. What is being proposed is contrary to natural law. Apart from going directly against the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, I believe that same sex marriages are also a threat to the future of our society. This is not about granting rights to gays but about undermining the institution of traditional marriage. I am all for granting civil rights to same sex relationships but I strongly disagree with the introduction of same sex marriages. Marriage is a sacred union designed to enhance the physical and psychological being of the two partners in preparation for the raising of children. This traditional family unit has time and again proven to be the best environment to raise psychologically healthy and well-adjusted children. Of course some families run into problems and require extra help but this has nothing to do with the gender equilibrium of that particular unit. The challenge to protect the traditional family unit always lay with strengthening traditional family values. As a defender of the traditional family unit, I firmly believe that political leaders should show extreme caution and sensitivity when dealing with this issue. As a nation which believes that the family is the foundation of our society, legalising such marriages will confuse children about gender roles and the expectations of society.
Our society is nowhere near the perceived moral rot that societies of other countries in the Western world appear to be facing. It may be blighted by trends and pressures but supported by our strong Christian values we are still the forefront promoters of the traditional family unit. Let us not allow external pressures undermine the strength of the family unit we so much love, nurture and believe in. Our society has been open to many changes but this is one step forward that, unlike present perception, will not reflect the modernising of Maltese society but will result in potential decay of the family unit as we know it.