Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Malta Today: Letters: 27th April 2014

28 April 2014, 8:21am [Other letters which are not related to the subject have not been posted in this blog.]

On diverse MPs' views

by Ramon Casha, Qormi

On Monday 14 April I went to Valletta, together with people from all walks of life, gay and straight, to witness a wonderful moment in our country’s history, when two bills were enacted in parliament to place homosexual citizens on the same level as everyone else.

First, the civil unions bill, giving same-sex couples in a committed relationship the ability to have their union registered and recognised by the state, with the same rights and obligations as marriage. In fact it’s a pity that it wasn’t called by its proper name – marriage – but I hope that this unnecessary distinction will be removed in the not too distant future.

This same bill also addressed the elephant in the room: yes, it would include the right for children being raised by two parents of the same sex to have both of their parents legally recognised, instead of just one.
Also on the same day, another bill passed, unanimously. The private member’s bill proposed by Claudette Buttigieg to protect people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation was amended by the government to add gender identity.

This bill was a very important one, since one still hears of people facing discrimination because they’re gay, and it’s unfortunate that Buttigieg was deprived of her opportunity to be with the crowd at such a beautiful occasion, because she deserved to be there with us. She also worked for this. The intent behind PN’s mass abstention did not, in my view, show a united front. On the contrary it showed a party that prevents its MPs from having, or showing, a diversity of views.

What’s the use of having both liberal and conservative candidates if, at the end of the day, the party decides how all of them will vote? There’s nothing wrong in having a few votes from the opposition or government benches that are different from their companions’ – in fact it shows maturity. I hope that this becomes the rule for the future.

Outside parliament, the moment when the crowd heard that the bill had passed was one of the most unforgettable experiences I’ve seen – people hugging, laughing, crying tears of happiness. I’ve never seen an act of parliament produce so much joy (eat your heart out Konrad). I only wish that the detractors could have seen those faces. I think that anyone who saw that scene, and heard the testimony of the children of gay parents would have lost any lingering bitterness.

No comment where there should have been

by Joseph Muscat, Mosta
Since its first issue, I always found time to read MaltaToday and the first thing I look for is the opinion page of Saviour Balzan. Sometimes I agree with him, sometimes I don’t, but I could do neither when I read his opinion about the civil union and adoption law that recently passed in parliament.

I was very much confused when I read that Saviour was looking for a bishop to lead the Church.
Balzan questioned where the Church and its bishops were during the civil union debate. I think everybody, Balzan included, knew the position of the Church regarding the civil union and adoption law proposed by the Labour government. Even those sitting in parliament knew it when he boasted about how the law would show the clear separation between State and Church.

To tell the truth, I too asked questions after the celebration that took place in St George’s Square. I expected Catholic leaders to comment at least, to defend the Church’s teachings, principle and values. I do not want our bishops to get involved in politics, as perhaps Lino Spiteri once thought, as I do not want the Church to be gagged by politics.

Because of his admission that he is not a practicing Catholic, I doubt Balzan’s sincerity in complaining about out bishops. I, neither a sinner nor a saint but a practicing Catholic, am very sorry about their silence because I feel that more is to come. I believe that this is the second stage, after divorce. I was mainly against divorce because I am convinced that it would open the floodgates of all evils.

Balzan showed us that he is confused at to what is best, a society with or one without the Church. In my opinion, a society without religion is like a jungle of beasts. A society without values and leaders without principles will lead us all towards anarchy. Let us be progressive but never beyond the red lines.

Balzan also complained about the silence of society. Where do you expect society to complain when the media does not help it? We know quite well that some only give half a page for society to give its opinion while others always feature the same names. How can we complain if we are ignored?

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