Friday, 07 February 2014, 11:02
The Malta Gay Rights Movement said it welcomed the content of a group of concerned citizens, who wrote an open letter to the government, in which the MGRM said, the group acknowledged the capabilities that gay people and same-sex couples have to provide a loving environment for children in their care. Their main concerns seem to centre around the impact that a model of family not based on the heterosexual ideal might have on their marriages and children and more remotely, the effect on children raised by same-sex parents.
“We concur that equality does not imply the end of sexual difference as they put it. What we do seem to differ on is the extent to which gender differences and notions of masculinity and femininity are socially constructed as opposed to biologically determined. We believe that all individuals, whether they identify as male or female, encompass both masculine and feminine traits. Both men and women have the potential to nurture their children; both are able to show leadership and assertiveness in their respective careers; both are able to carry out household chores and to make decisions as to their children’s education, leisure activities and friendships,” the movement said.
“Where we differ is the extent to which these abilities are strictly determined by one’s gender as opposed to one’s personal characteristics. We therefore do not believe that our children will somehow lose out on appropriate role models that will help them to develop a stable gender identity.”
It did not agree with the group’s understanding of the rights the civil unions bill entails as one which focuses on the right of the couple as opposed to that of children. “The civil unions bill is a piece of legislation about families in the same way that the marriage act is considered to regulate not just heterosexual couples but also any children they might have. It is not even primarily about adoption by same sex couples but about ensuring that children being raised by same sex couples have the same legal protections enjoyed by children in heterosexual families.”
The problem is not that same sex couples do not have the best interests of their children at heart; it is that heterosexuals steadfastly refuse to acknowledge that the right to family life goes beyond their traditional notions of family, the MGRM said. The group chose to refer to an excerpt from the website of the American Academy of Paediatrics (www.healthychildren.org) in support of their arguments. Yet, this same websites also states the following:
“A growing body of scientific literature reveals that children who grow up with one or two gay and/or lesbian parents will develop emotionally, cognitively, socially, and sexually as well as children whose parents are heterosexual. Parents’ sexual orientation is much less important than having loving and nurturing parents.”