Catholic Malta aims to be a world champion of gay rights
Last month LifeShiteNews went into outrage overdrive when it reported that a rainbow flag had ‘sacrilegiously’ been used as an altar cloth as part of sustained campaign by a gay Catholic activist group to get the church in Malta to ‘accept homosexual marriage, sodomy and adoption of children by same-sex couples’.
Worse still, the group – Drachma LGBTI – had been given:
A free pass to operate unofficially in the Catholic Archdiocese of Malta run by Archbishop Charles Scicluna [inset in the photo above].
LSN said that Drachma LGBTI has been given access to Maltese Catholic parishes, retreat centres, and the Catholic chapel of the country’s only university.
And – gasp! – last year, the Archdiocese hosted on its own website a report with photos of Drachma LGBTI presenting Scicluna with the group’s newly published “pro-homosexual book” titled Our Children. The Archbishop called the book:
A tool to help parents of LGBTI children.
The Catholic Church in Malta under Scicluna’s leadership has strayed from authentic Catholic teaching in other areas besides sexual morality. Earlier this year, the bishops allowed civilly-divorced-and-remarried Catholics living in adultery to receive Holy Communion and has forced seminarians to comply with the Communion guidelines.
Last month [May], Scicluna along with Bishop Mario Grech of Gozo attacked a group of faithful Catholics in Malta after it published a full page ad in a widely read paper defending real marriage against ‘unnatural’ homosexual ‘marriage’ in the lead-up to the country’s June 3 general election. The bishops criticised the ad as ‘propaganda’; and stated that they had ‘nothing to do’ with the group.
Well, against that background it was reported today that the predominantly Catholic island nation is on the cusp of sanctioning same-sex marriage.
Will someone please pass the LSN team the smelling salts.
At the urging of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, above, who won his second-straight term in a snap election last month, the Marriage Equality Bill is the first law being debated by the country’s new parliament, which convened for its first sitting on Monday. Muscat, leader of the center-left Labour Party, has vowed to expedite the legalisation process, calling marriage equality a top priority for his government.
The first law that we are going to put on the agenda — and I hope that it is approved as quickly as possible — is that of the Marriage Equality Bill. We will make sure that it will be the first law to be placed on the agenda of the parliament, and that it is concluded.
Though labeled an equality “bill,” Malta’s parliament is not mulling a single law but a host of changes to existing legislation including the Marriage Act, the Criminal Code and the Civil Code. As the Times of Malta explained, the aim of the bill is to:
Modernise the institution of marriage so that all consenting adult couples would have the right to enter into marriage. This will include replacing references of ‘husband’, ‘wife’, ‘mother’ and ‘father’ in existing laws with gender-neutral terms like ‘spouse’ and ‘parent’.
Muscat told the BBC this week:
Malta wants to keep leading on LGBT issues and civil liberties, to serve as a model for the rest of the world.
The bill is expected to be unanimously approved. When it comes to social and sexual rights, Malta is a paradox. A country that’s 98 percent Catholic, it only legalised divorce in 2011 – and even then, to the chagrin of many government and religious leaders.
Malta – situated between Sicily and the North African coast – remains the only country in the European Union where abortion is banned under all circumstances.
Yet, when it comes to LGBTQ rights, Malta has emerged as a European leader.
In 2014, the Maltese government passed a law recognising same-sex civil unions, including the right of gay couples to adopt. Last year, Malta became the first European country to make gay conversion therapy illegal, deeming it to be a “deceptive and harmful” act.
Russell Sammut, a Maltese gay rights advocate, told Time magazine in December:
Life has changed a lot for gay people in Malta over the past two years. Up until 2014 we had no rights here, but once civil unions were enacted people changed their attitudes overnight. Everyone is afraid of the unknown, but now they’ve seen there’s no threat to society, they’re fine with same-sex partnerships.
A poll conducted last year by the Malta Independent found most Maltese people in support of marriage equality. The paper said 61 percent of poll respondents were in favor of gay marriage.