Ir­re­versible di­ver­sity

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

Lis­ten­ing to Min­is­ter He­lena Dalli speak­ing in Par­lia­ment on Mon­day made one re­alise how much ground has been cov­ered in the past few years to bring Malta into the con­tem­po­rary world.

It must be ad­mit­ted that up till the last elec­tion no one in Malta had any idea about the long jour­ney still to be un­der­taken. The birth pangs, if we may say so, came with the di­vorce ref­er­en­dum in which a ma­jor­ity of vot­ers struck off in a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion from that of the church and one party lead­er­ship. Then came the civil union law which gave hith­erto unimag­ined rights to gays and les­bians.

The bill that Par­lia­ment is dis­cussing now is a con­tin­u­a­tion along the same lines.

One must state that the tran­si­tion has been a pain­less one with­out the splits and con­tro­ver­sies that there have been eg in France and in Italy.

Gays and les­bians have en­tered into civil unions, known in com­mon par­lance as gay mar­riages, to the hap­pi­ness of the fam­i­lies of those in­volved and to next to no lo­cal con­tro­versy at all. With the bill now un­der dis­cus­sion, LGBT per­sons ac­quire the same rights that other cit­i­zens have: They can in­herit from each other, they can own prop­erty jointly, etc.

Along with them, the bill also al­lows for co­hab­it­ing cou­ples to en­joy rights they never had be­fore.

It is now more than clear that all this is now ir­re­versible. Peo­ple who still har­bour any idea th­ese leg­isla­tive moves can be re­versed at some point in the fu­ture had bet­ter think again.

This may not be the best so­lu­tion for the Catholic Church but ex­pe­ri­ence of other coun­tries teaches the Church is good at adapt­ing it­self to new re­al­i­ties.

Of course the new Malta is still a new con­cept and many peo­ple still look askance at eg a les­bian or gay cou­ple with chil­dren. As one can see from the many sit­coms one sees on tele­vi­sion, even for­eign so­ci­eties are find­ing that rather dif­fi­cult to as­sim­i­late. At the end, ev­ery per­son knows the re­al­ity about one’s per­sonal life and no other per­son can hope to un­der­stand the in­tri­ca­cies and the warp and woof of his or her life, and the best judge for that is the per­son him­self (or her­self). Some­times govern­ment spokesper­sons boast that Malta is now at the fore­front of LGBT rights, where it pre­vi­ously was the con­ti­nen­tal lag­gard. We must not al­low the pen­chant for be­ing first guide our moves. It is more than suf­fi­cient to see that the new leg­isla­tive dis­po­si­tion ful­fils the needs of peo­ple who un­til a short time ago did not en­joy th­ese rights at all.

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