[WATCH] Busuttil won’t give opinion on gay conversion therapy ‘so as not to sway PN MPs’

Opposition leader refuses to give personal opinion on proposals to criminalise gay conversion therapies before the topic is dicussed within parliamentary group • Labour says Busuttil's reaction 'shows lack of leadership credentials' 

Opposition leader refuses to give personal opinion on proposals to criminalise gay conversion therapies

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil has refused to give his personal opinion on a proposed law to criminalize gay conversion ‘therapy’, arguing that doing so would risk influencing his parliamentary group’s final stance.

“While I have strong personal opinions on the topic, it would be unwise to go public with them before the parliamentary group has discussed it,” he told the press during a visit to the University. “I will not be like the Prime Minister and go public with my personal opinions on topics before the parliamentary group has had time to discuss it.”

He confirmed that the parliamentary group will convene tomorrow to discuss the Bill – that proposes fines up to €10,000 and a maximum year’s imprisonment for people carrying out conversion ‘therapy’, regardless of whether it is voluntary or otherwise.

“The issue only arose two days ago and I’m not noticing much public anticipation for the PN’s position,” he said. “As is expected of a democratic party, we will first discuss this topic internally and then make our stance public, perhaps even as early as tomorrow evening.”

He also noted that the Bill hasn’t even been tabled in Parliament, questioning how “he is expected to have an opinion on a Bill that has yet to be tabled”.

“When the issue arose, I indirectly obtained a copy of the Bill, but I would have expected the government to have first published the Bill and then awaited the Opposition’s reaction.”

In a reaction, the Labour Party said Busuttil had shown his lack of leadership credentials by not answering on where he stands on gay conversion therapy.

“His answer should be that these therapies are a no-brainer, but Busuttil cannot take a decision on one single issue, let alone on decisions that affect government,” the PL said.

“On the front of civil liberties, Busuttil has no credibility – even civil unions would not be legal were it for him. He has kept his mouth shut on gay conversion therapies for 10 weeks since the law was tabled and he is still running away from taking a position.”

The Church issued a position paper on Saturday, claiming that the proposed law would “affirm the superior status of homosexuals” and “make it a crime to assist paedophiles whose condition is manifested in same-sex behaviour”.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat later hit out at the paper, arguing that the belief that homosexuality is a curable illness betrays a “mentality from the dark ages”. 

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