[WATCH] Pro-lifers, religious leaders dub Maltese gay marriage bill a ‘Marxist law’

Activists carrying placards and banners against the proposed marriage equality legislation marched from Castille Square to in front of Parliament

Opponent of marriage equality bill protest 'assault on family values'
Opponent of marriage equality bill protest 'assault on family values'
Opponents of the proposed Marriage Equality Bill gathered in Valletta to protest what they have described as an attack on family values
Opponents of the proposed Marriage Equality Bill gathered in Valletta to protest what they have described as an attack on family values

Some 200 people attended a silent protest organised last night in opposition to the Marriage Equality Bill which has been discussed by parliament.

The bill is expected to be voted into law this evening, with both sides of the house having stated they were in favour of the law.

The protestors met in Castille Square where placards reading “Allow a conscience vote”, “Keep Husband and Wife” and “Mother is not equal to Father”, were handed out – mainly referring to the terminology of the bill.

Among those present for the protest were Miriam Sciberras of the Life Network Foundation, Gift of Life spokesman Paul Vincenti, far-right Moviment Patrijotti Maltin leader Henry Battistino and pastor Gordon Manche.

In comments to MaltaToday, Vincenti described the law’s gender-neutral language as going “beyond equality”, and impinging on the rights of others.

 “We are here to defend what centuries of history, tradition, ethics, morality, philosophy, and science, that the proper place for society to be healthy and for children to be born, is one where marriage is built on the relationship between a man a woman,” said Vincenti.

He insisted that any individual should have the right to be listed as a father or mother of a child on a birth certificate, and that all individuals should have the right to conscientiously object to providing services to same-sex couples. This, he said, was akin to communism.  

“Communism never made it until the 1930s, and was reintroduced back into society in a subtle way using the vehicle of democracy and so-called freedom of speech,” he continued.

On her part, Sciberras said that the law was a deceitful and discriminatory law since the government, she said, had originally said the law would only be “a change in name”.

“In reality, a 37-page law is a lot more than a change in name” she said. “There was no need to remove the terms mother and father and had it really been about inclusion it would have given an option and everyone would have been happy.”

Sciberras added that the law represented an attempt to create a gender-neutral society.

“When we talk about the role of a mother and father, will these cease to exist? This is a deceitful philosophy being imposed on the nation.”

Those present expressed their anger at MPs on both sides of the House, who they said had betrayed them by failing to represent their views in parliament.

They insisted that the law was an assault on family values and would lead to a “slippery slope” resulting in the loss of the terms mother and father from the language used by society.

The protestors walked from Castille to the parliament building were Philip Beatie from Coalition for Life, Marriage and the Family said that the nation’s future and that of its children would be determined in parliament without there having been any discussion or consultation.

He said the law removed the basic concept of “natural marriage” by attacking fundamental values the Maltese people have cherished for years.

In addition to imposing “communist” uniformity, Beatie said the law did not offer protection to conscientious objectors who were not members of the clergy.

He too argued that the law removed freedom of expression.

“We are not protected under this law,” he said, adding that opposing the law could lead to criminal proceedings.

He said he never thought that he would live in a country that cherished communist and totalitarian values.

He said he could believe that members of parliament would be prevented from expressing their true beliefs on the matter, insisting that MP Edwin Vassallo was the only member of parliament who had the courage to stand up for what was right.

“Edwin is a beacon of courage. Maltese people of good will are behind you Edwin,” said Beattie to rapturous applause.

He urged the crowd to continue to pray for Vassallo, while calling on MPs on both sides to vote against the bill in tomorrow’s final parliamentary vote

The protest ended with three minutes of silence, and Gordon Manche singing the national anthem.