Muscat lambasts 'dark ages mentality' that considers homosexuality 'a disease'

In a speech aimed at reminding the party supporters of his vision for the country, Joseph Muscat says the government will work harder than it has so far • Labour MP Joe Debono Grech urges party supporters "to stop badmouthing" party

Labour leader Joseph Muscat
Labour leader Joseph Muscat

Treating homosexuality as a condition that can be cured by medication or therapy is a mentality of the “dark ages” which will not be allowed to fester in Malta, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said.

Addressing Labour supporters at the Zurrieq club, Muscat said the draft bill seeking an outright ban to conversion therapy “had nothing to do with prayers” but an affirmation that sexual orientation was not a condition.

A position paper issued by the Church caused outrage after it claimed that the Bill would “make it a crime to assist paedophiles whose condition is manifested in same-sex behavior”.

Muscat drew comparisons with Pope Francis who, despite the Church’s long outstanding ban on most forms of birth controls, suggested that contraceptives may be used to prevent the spread of the Zika virus.

“Then you turn to Malta and find homosexuality being treated as a condition. I will defend the Church’s right to express its position; but I’m also free to say that this government will keep moving forward with its plans. We strongly believe in the progress we are making … it’s not a question of imitating other countries but because I will never accept a mentality that harms gay people,” Muscat said.

The Labour leader said his party will remain progressive, helping families and individuals live the life they want without feeling like second-class citizens.

The government will launch a cohabitation bill for consultation – a bill that had been shelved by one administration after the other. The bill will seek to regularize couples and families who choose not to get married but who still want to ensure that their legal rights and duties are safeguarded.

‘We will work harder’

Reminding the party supporters of his vision for the country, Muscat said that the government will work harder than it has so far.

A MaltaToday survey on the political trust rating published today revealed a sign of disgruntlement among traditional Labour voters with one-tenth of respondents who voted Labour in the 2008 general election saying they will not vote if an election were held now.

The survey also showed that Muscat’s trust lead over Busuttil has dropped by one point – from 9 to 8 points – although the Labour Party is leading the Nationalist Party by one point.

The Labour leader’s intervention this morning focused on the money dispensed by the government to reduce utility bills, increase services offered and pensions, attracting investment, creating work and reducing the debt accumulated under the previous administrations.

Muscat reiterated that the second half of the government’s tenure will also focus on those who are still waiting to get what they deserve, reminding his followers that the PL in government had already done a lot to help those who faced injustices and to support young couples starting a new life together.

“No government has managed to create as many jobs as we did in the past three years,” he said.

Muscat said the government will continue to monitor the job market and ensure that employers do not employ foreigners at the expense of Maltese workers, simply because they offer lower job conditions.

He reiterated that the government will not allow residents to suffer at the mercy of Palumbo shipyards, and talks were underway to see how to best address the situation.

The Labour leader argued that the government had already done more on the environment, then the PN in its last five years in government. Referring to the Nwadar national park.

“It is a sad, sad opposition. It finds nothing to say, except to be negative and come up with ridiculous assertions,” he added.

Muscat reminded that, while the government had solved the problem of out-of-stock medicine, the PN had given up on the situation to the point that it had offered to reimburse the difference in prices.

Addressing the audience ahead of Muscat’s speech, veteran Labour MP Joe Debono Grech urged party supporters “to stop badmouthing” the party and instead focus on the work being carried out by the government.

“Did you ever hear Nationalists badmouthing their own party in 25 years? This party was elected to power with a country facing a dire financial situation and an ever-increasing rate of unemployment. What did we do? We turned things around, reduced utility bills and stabilized the prices of fuel,” he said.

Addressing disgruntled Labourites, Debono Grech said that it would be hard to believe the PN “would address injustices” when it had spent 25 years creating the same injustices.

“I may not be contesting the next general elections but I am still meeting our supporters and going door-to-door.  I talk to you and I know that there are many who feel that there is more we could do … but don’t forget what the government already did in its first three years,” he said.

Referring to the provision of free childcare centres to all, Debono Grech insisted that working women should let other women know “that they would have never been able to work” hadn’t it been for the government’s free service.

Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela said that Busuttil could not distance himself from the previous administration, having authored the PN’s electoral manifesto. During his intervention, Abela reiterated that the opposition had been devoured by negativity and the PN “is not to be trusted”.

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