31 August 2012
Justice Minister Chris Said’s view that “gay couples are not a family” confirms the institutionalised homophobia of GonziPN, Labour Party leader Joseph Muscat said.
This declaration of principle is not acceptable because through it the government is institutionalising homophobia. If the Prime Minister agrees with Dr Said, he would be confirming that the GonziPN policy is homophobic. If he does not agree, he should warn him, Dr Muscat said.
For the Labour Party, he added, a family is formed irrespective of the sexual orientation of the people concerned. GonziPN’s homophobia had come out clear in the discussion on the rent laws, when the government objected to the Opposition’s proposal that protection should be extended also to same-sex couples, with deputy Prime Minister Tonio Borg saying that was all they needed.
The government’s reply was to accuse the Labour Party of twisting facts and using statements out of context. Dr Muscat was trying to exploit the wrong interpretation of a declaration, so as to twist what the justice minister had told a news conference.
Dr Said had never made any homophobic declarations, the justice ministry said. When asked about the cohabitation legislation, the minister said that in the context of the Bill, gay couples are not considered as a family with a married couple. He was explaining legal issues.
The minister believes that the personal relationship between different people is something precious for those living this experience and understands also that for them that relationship is their familial nucleus, even if they are not married. Conveniently, Dr Muscat tries to give the interpretation he desires.
Dr Muscat should know that in Maltese law there is no definition of family. The marriage act gives a clear definition of what marriage constitutes. The cohabitation law does not go into this merit because as proposed it aims to regulate cohabitation as a state of fact for both heterosexuals and homosexuals.
On Dr Said’s initiative and after talks with representatives of the Malta Gay Rights Movement and Aditus, among others, the government has enacted legislation through which it established as more serious crime all types of violence against persons on the ground of species, identity of species or sexual orientation
The Labour Party and Dr Muscat are not offering anything new, the ministry said.
The Nationalist Party had its say as well, saying that Dr Muscat was twisting what Minister Said had said, to try to give the impression he is in favour of persons of the same sex, when on other occasions, even on Xarabank, he said he is against same-sex marriages.
Dr Muscat does not qualify to be called progressive or liberal, the PN said. He has taken positions resembling extreme right policies, it claimed. He is surrounded by people of extreme views, homophobic and vindictive, who like to attack personally, it said.