Facing social realities by Tonio Fenech

Regrettably I cannot but disagree with Dr Simon Busuttil’s position.

I agree with Simon that the Party has to face social realities.   The social reality is that the vast majority of Maltese still value marriage (this was the argument also made by people who wanted divorce) as a union between a husband and a wife that includes the intrinsic value of procreation, which I hope we all agree is a social good, if we want the human race to survive.  

To give marriage equality we don’t call oranges bananas.  This is absurd.  In Dr. Simon Busuttil’s own words the Civil Union Act already conferred all rights so what social realities are we ignoring?

The only social reality that the Nationalist Party is ignoring, is the reality of its own voters, who in the main are against the position being taken by the PN by a vast majority.  Please stop and listen.  There are many of us, beyond the numbers you seem to have decided to term insignificant. 

Society at large does not want discrimination against the LGBTIQ community but that does not equate to divesting marriage of its essentials to please the few who want to impose their dominance on public opinion and policy.

Unfortunately, the PN change of policy was not the result of an open debate, but a leadership imposition when Simon Busuttil decided out of his own accord to push the Party in that direction when Joseph Muscat pronounced himself in favour of Gay Marriage (when previously he too had pronounced himself against) simply to create a diversion on the Panama Papers issue.

The Party never discussed the issue, but out of loyalty MPs abstained from pronouncing ourselves publicly even though many in the Parliamentary Group disagreed. 

On the Electoral Programme:

  1. A Party that lost the election is not bound to execute its Electoral Programme as that Programme was rejected by the voters, it is the Party in Government that carries such an obligation.
  2. The law that has been presented goes beyond what we were told to be our position, i.e. that we were simply recognizing the fact the Civil Union brought about defacto marriage.   The law presented by the Labour Government goes beyond as it removes any identity from marriage as we know it as though a marriage between a husband and a wife, a mother and a father is something that cannot be mutated in society so much so that a 36-page law has been passed to erase such concepts from all our laws.  Civil union and marriage can never be the same because although they both “love” which needs no legal intervention, the natural order, biology has dictated that a heterosexual couple procreates and is thus distinct. 

Negating distinction is not equality, negating diversity is intolerance, a tolerant society is one that exults diversity and not legislate homogeneity and negating todays marriages who they essentially are, husbands and wives, father and mothers.

  1. The law presented by the Labour Government is a charade to mask the real intentions of this Government i.e. to remove the gender identity from marriage (the concept of husband and wife, father and mother who now became the person who has a child) and make the definitions accommodating to the real intentions of this Government that include changes to the Embryo Protection Act to allow for Surrogacy, and sperm and egg donation, which will open us to serious LIFE ethical issues.
  2. The electoral program of the Nationalist Party was approved by a General Council without a debate, through a General Council limited with pre planned speeches.  No invitation was made to the Councilors for interventions, Councilors who are supposed to be the highest organ of the Party and who have a right to express their views and opinions in a Statutory General Council.  Rather a vote was taken by simple show of hands without debate.  Does not say much about the democratic structures of the Party.  If the Leadership knew that such proposals would not find consensus, then they should have been dropped not forced.
  3. I assure the PN that it has lost a significant number of votes of people already, families that I am meeting every day, through calls, messages and around coffees who are telling me please be our voice.  Many of these have abstained in this election and many others are saying this may have been the last time they voted PN.  For these people fighting Corruption was not enough, they expect to hear from us alternative proposals and talk about all the values that distinguish as from Labour, the Values that have built and sustained our Party, yet that seem outdated for the few in power.

Painfully I have seen the leadership impose its views on the many, as we were told this was the only way we get the gay vote back.   The gay vote was never the reason for the 2013 electoral defeat, the European Elections in 2009 had already given that same result with the same margin, and then the Gay debate had not even started.  Let us stop fooling ourselves and sell our values for cheap.

Even make exaggerated assertions that by not voting for the bill we are condemning the PN to eternity in Opposition.  If Simon Busuttil wants the Party to be united and that the conservative and the liberal factions to coexist, one faction cannot oppress the other and it is for this reason the Party MPs should be given a free vote.  Why an outgoing Leader keeps insisting on wanting to impose his opinion to the exclusion of all other baffles me.

I contend that the Nationalist MPs are not bound by the Party’s Whip on this Bill but are obliged to vote freely as this is a matter of Conscience.

The Whip cannot deny the freedom to an MP who wants to object to a Bill as a matter of Conscience.

I want to assure the Nationalist Party that it is very mistaken to ignore its core vote who if objectively asked will tell you don’t touch marriage– I urge the exiting leadership to stop imposing their will on a Party that is seeking to understand what went wrong and why the PN lost by an even bigger majority.  If the PN want to win the next election it needs to reconnect with its voters and not keep kicking us in the teeth, unless it wants to lose our votes for good and remain in Opposition for much longer.  

This election was not won or lost because of our position and abstention on Civil Union – stop these ridiculous apologetics, I compromised and abstained even though I was against gay adoption and I have no regrets for what I did because I believe that adoption is the right of the child and is not the commodity of couples being heterosexual or gay. 

It was wrong than, it remains wrong now. 

The election was won by Labour because of the success it managed to sell on the economic front, which as a PN we left unchallenged, focusing only on Corruption.

We lost because our strategy was too single focused and people heard very little of our proposals NOTHING TO DO WITH THE GAY MARRIAGE VOTE so much so that despite the apologetics of the leadership of the Party and the promises, the Party did not get the gay vote. 

The electoral results are fact.   The next election will be won or lost again on the economic front, and the PN had better prepare itself to convince people that it can make a difference and make people’s lives better and it has the ability to Govern rather than keep the focus on issues that separate it from its core.

A free vote should be given to Nationalist MPs who need to give hope to a lot of voters like me that the Nationalist Party protects our values while being sensitive to social realities.  

The LGBTIQ community already has its rights, facing social realities is not about not remaining who we are –

DO NOT TAKE WHAT IS OURS, it is now the turn of the LGBTIQ community to accept who we are.

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  1. We must stand up for what we believe is right.

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