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Truly no laughing matter

It is not really what Equality Minister Helena Dalli said that was shocking but that she laughed.

Maybe it was because she went off script but she was unusually open. Addressing a conference on the status of women, she said the 2013 Labour Party electoral programme had promised equality but people did not know what the party had intended by that. She readily admitted that when Labour was moving a Bill to introduce civil unions in 2014, a survey showed that 80 per of respondents were against the idea.

She laughed when saying people did not know what “equality” had meant in the manifesto, adding they forged ahead anyway. Dr Dalli was obviously trying to highlight her government’s commitment to gay issues.

Naturally, none of this came out in a Department of Information statement on the conference, which, maybe significantly, referred to ‘LBTIQ women’ issues and not the usual LGBTIQ term, which generally refers to gays. Evidently, women issues are now on the government’s PR agenda, having electorally exploited the gay population to the limit.

Dr Dalli’s admittance that Labour misled people in its manifesto is shocking, indeed, resignation material, but only to a certain extent. There are other projects, like the controversial passport programme and the concession of State hospitals to the private sector, which were also not on that manifesto.

Gay unions, which led to gay marriage and gay adoptions, have undermined one of the pillars of society, the institution of marriage. It was not a simple cheap electoral trick for the minister to laugh about. It was a policy that undermines society in the name of obtuse definitions, which are a fad, nothing more. The Nationalist Party came out with guns blazing, saying Dr Dalli cannot be taken seriously. Sadly, she should be. She is proud of her track record and promotes the country as a trailblazer in ‘civil rights’.

The Opposition also asked what the government was planning with regard to babies in the womb, echoing its leader, Adrian Delia, who raised the alarm about abortion being introduced into the country. Labour came to Dr Dalli’s defence, saying she was becoming a target for moving a Bill against domestic violence. It sounded surreal, pathetic actually, but it pandered to women voters, which are the target now.

Former Labour foreign affairs minister, George Vella, wrote in this newspaper that not including the unborn child in the definition of “family” in the Domestic Violence Bill conveyed the wrong message, not consonant with the Prime Minister’s repeated declarations of his opposition to abortion. That statement made the spectre of abortion very real.

Given Dr Dalli’s own admittance that her party used generic terms to hide its true intentions, and given Labour’s wooing of the female voter, it can be said that the fight over abortion, in or out of electoral manifestos, has truly started.

Women’s issues are not gay issues. The gay vote was far more harmonious and with common interests. The female vote would be different. There are women who prefer to stay at home to raise their children. Others prefer a career and many try to do both.

To target this huge proportion of the vote would require focus. Labour would try to apply the same liberal policies as it did with gays. And ‘women’s rights’ in liberal newspeak include abortion.

This is a Times of Malta print editorial

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