The Malta Independent 23 January 2020, Thursday

PM tries to shift attention - 'I am in favour of gay marriage, country ready for debate'; PN reacts

Helena Grech Friday, 4 March 2016, 13:11 Last update: about 5 years ago

In an effort to shift public attention away from the scandal involving Energy Minister Konrad Mizzi and chief of staff Keith Svhembri, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat today said he is in favour of gay marriage.

He said - "I am in favour of gay marriage and the country is ready for a debate about it", he said during an activity for women at the Labour Party headquarters.

Dr Mizzi was present for the event, but no mention of the scandal that has gripped the country after it was revealed that he has opened a company in Panama was made during the event.

The civil unions bill was passed in April 2014 with the opposition abstaining.

Many took to social media to say that Dr Muscat was using the LGBTQI community in order to deviate public attention from the Panama scandal.

Confronted with this, Dr Muscat said that he mentioned gay marriage in response to a question, which strongly appeared to be planted, put forward by a woman present at the event. He categorically denied using this issue in order to distract the public, and said that he has the right to voice his opinions on questions put forward to him.

Almost two years ago, Dr Muscat had spoken in favour of civil unions however this morning he admitted that gay marriage was not in the pre-electoral manifesto, which raises questions as to the timing of this issue coming to the forefront.

In reaction, the Nationalist Party said the PM is trying to deflect attention by bringing up LGBT issues.

While the country talks about Panamagate, the Prime Minister brought up gay marriage when "civil unions have the same effect and consequences of gay marriage".

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil said he had no problem to change "civil unions" into "gay marriage".

The crisis we are facing today is corruption, not gay marriage, he added.



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