The Malta Independent 19 September 2019, Thursday

Petition against gay adoptions presented to MPs

Malta Independent Wednesday, 2 April 2014, 18:17 Last update: about 6 years ago

Parliament was presented with a 10,501-signature petition against gay adoptions this evening, on the initiative of the River of Love Christian fellowship group led by Pastor Gordon Manché.

Copies of the petition were presented to government whip Carmelo Abela, opposition whip David Agius and deputy speaker Censu Galea. Around 30 people were present for the occasion, unfurling a banner proclaiming that “God loves everyone, but not everything,”

Dr Manché said that the signatures were collected over the space of four weeks, in the limited time available to the volunteers. He did not rule out another petition – calling for an abrogative referendum – if the Civil Unions Bill is approved as is, thus providing same-sex couples with the option to adopt children jointly.

He stressed that he was very confident about the outcome of such a referendum, repeatedly stating that a study showed that 80% of Maltese people were against gay adoptions, presumably in a reference to a survey carried out by Catholic newspaper Lehen is-Sewwa.

The pastor also insisted that gay people had also signed the petition due to their opposition to allowing gay couples to adopt children.

Dr Manché insisted that he opposed the proposed civil unions as they were no different to marriage, but said that he had no objection to providing some form of recognition to gay couples, to cover issues such as healthcare.

But while he maintained that what adults did among themselves was their own business, bringing children into the mix through adoption was a “completely different ballgame.”

“A child is not an object one can import from Russia or Japan,” the pastor explained.

Dr Manché was full of praise for outgoing President George Abela, who was reported to have told Prime Minister Joseph Muscat that he would refuse to sign the Civil Unions Bill into law on moral grounds, stating that the “honourable Dr Abela” fully deserved to be described by this name.

He called for MPs – and President-elect Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca – to take into consideration the “Christian conscience” of the Maltese people.

The group held an impromptu prayer circle as they waited for Mr Agius – who had been held up in a PN parliamentary group meeting – to arrive in parliament, with various group members loudly invoking God to guide MPs.

“Help those who kiss the cross (as MPs do when they are sworn in) remember not to go against it,” one of the members proclaimed to the heavens.

As he accepted a copy of the petition, Mr Abela emphasised that those with divergent opinions had to be respected in a truly open society, and that people should also be respected as human beings.

While he clarified that as a government MP, he felt obliged to adhere to the electoral manifesto and help implement civil unions, he said that he welcomed the group’s activism.

Mr Agius, on his part, pointed out that the opposition had suggested its own amendments when the bill was discussed in committee, only to have them shot down by government MPs.

He also reminded the group would have to present the original signatures to Parliament for the petition to be officially recognised: the group had shown up with three photocopied petitions on the day.

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