Monday, December 2, 2013, 00:01 by Colin Garnett, Sliema
I was disappointed that Martin Scicluna referred to those who take an opposite view of same-sex marriage on grounds of their Christian beliefs as being religious bigots (November 20).
For over 50 years, I have supported the legal inclusion of the homosexual community into the full pattern of our national life, from initially arguing for the decriminalisation of homosexuality until latterly supporting the need to offer legal, financial and social protection to couples living as same-sex partners. Indeed, the civil union legislation does offer similar protection to same-sex couples as marriage does to heterosexual couples.
Yet, I am opposed to the use of the term ‘marriage’ for same-sex partnerships. Marriage has always been, and should continue to be, between a man and a woman. Same-sex relationships may bear some similarity to marriages but they do differ in one crucial respect.
For same-sex couples, the conception of children is a biological impossibility without the involvement of a third person. This is a defining difference, which makes the term ‘same-sex marriage’ illogical. Marriage is not some mere rite to be snatched as a sign of a perceived equality but a fundamental responsibility that enables the procreation and nurture of future generations.
I urge everyone who is concerned by this issue to speak out for marriage as it always has been. They should express their views to politicians and make them aware of the importance of this issue in Maltese society. They should also ensure that same-sex marriage does not happen by default because they have not spoken out.
If they do speak out publicly in support of marriage being solely between a man and a woman, they must be prepared to be insulted and vilified. When I expressed such views in public in the UK debate, I could barely believe the venom and obscenity of the comments and threats I received.
There are bigots on both sides.