[WATCH] Equating homosexuality to paedophilia or illness 'unacceptable'

Archbishop Charles Scicluna clarifies his position, says gay conversion therapy is ‘a no go’

Archbishop Charles Scicluna and Prime Minister Joseph Muscat (Photo: Curia Communications Office)
Archbishop Charles Scicluna and Prime Minister Joseph Muscat (Photo: Curia Communications Office)
Equating homosexuality to paedophilia or illness 'unacceptable'

Debating the legal aspects of the conversion therapy bill was one thing, but equating homosexuality to paedophilia or an illness is “unacceptable” and should not be promoted, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said.

Muscat was reacting to comments by Archbishop Charles Scicluna in which he clarified his position over the controversial position paper published by the Curia on Saturday.

“Any conversion therapy which forces someone to go against their decisions or their life choices is just a no go – a no go – and I want this to be absolutely clear,” Scicluna told The Times.

The Archbishop will be meeting with the team that drafted the position paper to discuss the public’s reaction, the newspaper added.

Asked for a reaction, Muscat reassured that the Bill - Towards the Affirmation of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Expression Act – was not about meditation or prayers but to outlaw any form of therapy that treats homosexuality as condition that needed healing.

“It is simply not acceptable to equate homosexuality to paedophilia or an illness,” Muscat said.

He added that individuals close to the Catholic Church had also expressed their scepticism over the position paper.

The committee behind the position paper included former European Court of Human Rights judge Giovanni Bonello and Dean of the Faculty of Law Kevin Aquilina.

Muscat said he found no problem with one putting forward legal arguments. “We are here to promote progressive values and such discourse hurts,” he added.

The Catholic Church on Saturday said that the Bill was “discriminatory” and it only seeks to protect “a category of people finding it hard to come to terms with their condition”.

It also claimed that the Bill, if it becomes law, would make it a crime “to assist persons with a paraphilic condition, such as paedophilia, were such condition to be manifested in same sex behaviour. This was immediately denied, as the Bill does not impede interventions by professionals nor does it prohibit clinical interventions with paedophiles. 

“Their presenting problem is not same-sex or opposite sex attraction but the sexual abuse of children irrespective of their gender,” MGRM coordinator Gabi Calleja said.

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