The Malta Independent 27 July 2017, Thursday

‘Marriage is between man and woman’ - protesters outside Parliament insist

Helena Grech Tuesday, 11 July 2017, 21:06 Last update: about 15 days ago

Around 150 protesters have gathered outside Parliament to protest the introduction of gay marriage, one day before MPs are set to cast their final vote on the issue.

Protesters took umbrage at the fact that neither party is allowing their MPs a free vote, with both Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and outgoing Opposition Leader Simon Busuttil declaring that both sides of the House will be voting in favour.

The main bone of contention between the two sides is that the Opposition are against replacing gender specific terminology in a series of clauses that deal with parental and spousal issues to gender neutral terminology. At law, terms such as 'mother' and 'father' will be replaced by parent.

ADVERTISEMENT

The majority of the crowd was made up of elderly persons, with the next biggest demographic being middle aged parents, many of whom brought along their children.

Banners and posters could be seen showing the protesters appeal for Catholic values to be retained, that marriage is only between a man and a woman and that God's laws supersede the laws of man.

Leader of the controversial Patrijotti Maltin Henry Battastino was in attendance. PN MP Herman Schiavone was also listening in on the speeches just outside Parliament.

Speaker Scicluna said that the proposed law is an "attack on the traditional family, on the notion of a mother and father".

"Marriage is between a man, a woman and Jesus Christ. We are here to respond to Parliament, to stand up and say no, this is not what the people want.

"Today, the people have spoken and it will be time that will prove us right. Our children will suffer the consequences."

Former member of the now defunct right wing Azzjoni Nazzjonali Philip Beattie also delivered a speech against the proposed law, stating that: "Our future, our children's future are being decided. It [the law] was rushed without the consensus of the people.

"This [law] will be introduced after a debate took place in parliament, a sham of debate, that was rushed and without real analysis. They [government] promised a change of name of the civil union act, but they created a 37 page document.

"It doesn't just legally equate marriage between different couples, but takes away rights and fundamental rights.

"I can't believe we are being stripped of our rights by both anti-democratic, anti-christian parties.

"This law will introduce surrogacy and sperm donation, and will change the embryo protection act.

"To have a child you need cooperation between a man and a woman, this is based on social realities. Children need a mother and a father. The model of a father and mother as a family predates government, institutions and society."

He took umbrage at the removal of 'mother', 'father' and said that the law limits freedom of expression as it does not allow the use of those words in everyday language.

Much of his speech placed added pressure on Opposition Leader Busuttil specifically, appealing for him to stick to the party's Christian roots and not go along with the tide.

Patrick Vincenti, a vocal activist in more traditional issues was in attendance, together with controversial pastor Gordon Manche accused of carrying out gay conversion therapy at his church called 'river of love'

Four people protesting the protesters arrived for the speeches, arguing in favour of gay marriage and called the crowd bigots.

Known pro-life activist Miriam Sciberras also spoke, stating that people have gathered to be witness and give testimony that not all are in favour of this change in the law. She appealed for MP's to vote with their conscience.

In comments to The Malta Independent, she said that the law is about imposition and not about inclusion.

A group of Nationalist Party activists, who are not officially from the party, said they are giving the PN one last chance to allow a free vote. Failing this, the group said that it would be considering its available options, even encouraging a party leader that is true to Christian democratic values.

Speaking with protesters at the event, a group of women said they are here as mothers to protect their children.

One woman feared that should her child be exposed to differing family structures, it would confuse him into thinking that he could just choose what sexual orientation he would like to have.

Another elderly man said that the way homosexual couples live is immoral and should not be encouraged.

The majority of people at the protest cited the protection of their children and traditional family values.

All speakers spoke in favour of Edwin Vassallo, a PN MP who voted against the second reading of the marriage equality act on the basis that he did not agree with the wording of the text and wanted to represent more conservative parts of local society. 

Photos by Baskal Mallia


  • don't miss