The government has promised a bill on same-sex civil unions before the summer. This is a far cry from the proper marriage, under the existing marriage laws, which the gay lobby thought it would get by voting for Joseph. Unfortunately, what we saw over the last two or three years was a sort of Tulip Fever pandemic in which people heard one thing and believed another. They actually heard Muscat say on television that he doesn’t think marriage between two people of the same sex is quite right, and that he won’t go beyond civil union. But still they believed they would get marriage by voting Labour.
Now for my next question: will the bill for civil union between two people of the same gender also provide for the dissolution of that union? It has to. Marriages can now be dissolved through divorce. There has to be concomitant provision for the dissolution of civil unions. Married people of different genders must live apart for a minimum of four years before being allowed to divorce. Equality cuts both ways. Will people of the same gender, in civil unions, be permitted to dissolve that union without the obligation to first live apart for four years? Or will they be allowed to dissolve their union after a shorter period or none at all, on the grounds that a civil union is inferior to proper marriage?
Oh, the dilemmas, the dilemmas.
Even as the government made its announcement, we were told that the prime minister is in Paris, visiting with his socialist friend Francois Hollande, who is currently besieged by massive demonstrations against his gay marriage bill, put to the final vote in parliament the day before yesterday. Muscat, seeing all this, will have been only further entrenched in his position against same-sex marriage, which rather makes a mockery of his speech to one particular mass meeting in which he told his supporters not to be afraid of hell-fire when supporting “unions between people of the same sex”.
If he’s not afraid of hell-fire in his objections to gay marriage, then what exactly is Muscat afraid of and what’s stopping him? Something akin to what Hollande has been subjected to, I quite suspect.
Daphne Caruana Galizia