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PN support of marriage equality bill a 'lose-lose' decision – Tonio Fenech

According to the former minister, democracy should represent the voice of society and not just the few that have hijacked both political parties

Yannick Pace
1 January 1970, 1:00am
Tonio Fenech has insisted that many within the PN are expecting it to oppose the proposed marriage equality bill
Tonio Fenech has insisted that many within the PN are expecting it to oppose the proposed marriage equality bill
Former Nationalist finance minister Tonio Fenech has said that the Nationalist Party’s decision to support the proposed marriage equality bill, that parliament will start discussing tonight, a lose-lose situation.

Reacting to comments made by current party leader Simon Busuttil, where he said that the PN would be supporting the proposed legal changes since marriage equality already existed “in substance”, Fenech insisted that many within the PN expect it to vote against the bill.

“Simon Busuttil said the PN will continue to stand for our value – whose values?” wrote Fenech.

“Many are expecting the PN to vote against the Marriage Equality Bill this Government wants to speedily pass through Parliament.”

On Sunday, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that the 38-page long Bill would show that it is based on equality as a principle.

Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM) coordinator Gabi Calleja said in a statement today that, the Bill, which refers to legislation other than the Civil Union and the Marriage Acts, will introduce changes which are necessary to ensure that access to and recognition of rights that emanate from marital status can be enjoyed by all married couples. whether of the same or opposite sex.

Fenech however insisted that the fact that the PN “is not bound by an electoral program”, and that people did not vote for the party because it was going to introduce gay marriage, meant that it did not need to support the Bill. 

According to Fenech, the PN was mistaken in its decision and that despite the electoral result, the party’s leadership still had not understood that “forsaking what we value” would ultimately not lead to success.

“All the PN is doing is risking losing the votes of people who believed the PN stood for something and today are convinced otherwise. If the PN does not want our vote it should keep heading in this direction,” said Fenech.

He insisted that the bill that will be tabled in parliament tonight was “not about gay marriage” and that the PN was right in abstaining on the vote on the civil union bill in 2014.

“While we agreed that the choices of gay people should be respected and recognized we disagreed that gay couples were given the right to adopt – a right that is not conferred to married people and a right that is conferred to the children and not to the couples desiring to adopt,” he added.

Ultimately, he stressed that the proposed law was intended to change “the concept and value of marriage” and that changing a definition to “suit electoral pledges devoid of substance” and which only intended to bring “social division where the few dictate to the many just to prove a point”.

“Such acts do not foster tolerance but resentment. Tolerance takes two to tango. Respecting the status and choices everyone makes without imposing on others and altering what God intended for those who believe and the natural order of procreation for those who don't, simply to consolidated some votes, the only thing that seems to drive this Government,” continued Fenech.

He ended by expressing his hope that some MPs, from both sides of the house would be willing to “call a spade a spade” and stand up to be counted.

“Democracy should represent the voice of society and not just the few that have hijacked both political parties,” he concluded.

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