Recognition of same-sex relationships

Mr J. Bonett Balzan (The Sunday Times, October 3) heaved a sigh of relief when acknowledging that the official visit of German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle did not involve also accommodating his male partner.

Heaven forbid Malta would ever have to bow so low as to consider same-sex partners of foreign dignitaries, or of anyone at all for that matter, as equal to any opposite-sex partners they may have!

As with most people building a flimsy case against same-sex relationships, Mr Bonnett Balzan takes the Church as his standard-bearer and blindly repeats its admonishments on the matter. We are told Pope Benedict said that “the Church cannot approve alternative models of the family”.

That is unfortunate, albeit hardly surprising – but lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are not looking at the Church to bless their relationships, and neither are most other people, really.

Recognition of human relationships is a yarn for thestate to untangle – not for religions to choose to approve or disapprove of.

Moreover, the arguments about alternative family forms “weakening the principles of marriage” are as old as they are stale and baseless.

I suspect that Mr Bonett Balzan’s assumptions on same-sex relationships do not stem from real-life experiences, but from repeated traditions that human beings find so hard to challenge.

So if a few decades ago, gay people were looked upon as weird and were thought of as being repulsive to think of – let alone to consider befriending and accepting as equal – then those same outdated beliefs may persist today because they have not been actively challenged.

It is clearly much easier to fall in line with traditional beliefs than to try to build one’s own.

Another important point was overlooked in Mr Bonett Balzan’s letter. By opposing equal rights for same-sex couples, one is not protecting marriage.

Recognition of same-sex couples is not yet a reality in Malta, but a number of so-called ‘traditional marriages’ are still sadly disintegrating. Surely nobody can be so naïve, or so delusory to themselves and others, as to assume that traditional relationships are suffering because of the recognition of same-sex ones!

As to his reference to homosexual people in the Nazi regime, Mr Bonett Balzan should know that gay people were also one of the favourite targets of the Nazis. It is estimated that around 15,000 men died in concentration camps, with their only charge being that of being gay.

Gay inmates were forced to wear a pink triangle on their jackets to distinguish them from other detainees. The link of the colour pink with the gay community persists to this day, although very few are aware of its gruesome origins.

Mr Bonett Balzan’s haste to throw mud at LGBT people also has him accuse them of ‘flaunting’ their sexuality. That is just about as ridiculous as if I were to accuse a colleague of mine of flaunting his left-handedness when he signs a document.

There is nothing to flaunt. LGBT people live their lives regularly, just like their peers and siblings who are straight, with the only difference being that they have to struggle daily to be accepted as equal. The problem, in reality, is not same-sex attraction. It is the lies we have been taught about it.

Finally, if I feel like holding my partner’s hand – perhaps while walking shoulder to shoulder with my own brother as he holds his girlfriend’s – I will very well do so.

I apologise if I don’t rush to ask Mr Bonett Balzan for his righteous approval. He may choose to stare in astonishment, cover his eyes or scurry away in horror – but that’s his call.

If the thought of two adults in a committed and loving relationship makes him shudder, then that is very, very sad indeed.

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