by Gavin Muscat
VALLETTA, Malta, January 17, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A survey commissioned by the Catholic Church in Malta shows that 80% of the Maltese population oppose the adoption clause included in the Civil Union Act that is currently being discussed in the nation's Parliament.
Auxiliary Bishop Charles Scicluna told Times Of Malta that politicians are duty-bound to take this data into consideration while debating the bill, which would give homosexual couples who enter into a civil union the right to adopt.
The survey, which was undertaken in October by the independent consulting firm Misco and polled 500 citizens, was unveiled by the bishop on local television last week. Amongst those aged 18-24, a slight majority of 53.5 percent opposed gay adoption, but 81 percent of those aged 25 to 64 were opposed, and 92 percent of those over 65.
The Opposition Party has previously called for the removal of references to adoption by same-sex couples. “We believe that legal provisions on adoption should not be included in this bill. In fact there are no provisions on adoption in the Marriage Act itself. The appropriate place where this should be addressed is the law on adoptions,” said Dr. Chris Said, Shadow Minister for Justice, Dialogue and the Family.
Bishop Scicluna has been outspoken against the law and was encouraged by Pope Francis to fight it in a meeting they had on December 12. In his Christmas day homily, Bishop Scicluna spoke about the rights of children and he urged Malta "not to destroy the family based on the lasting bond between one man and one woman." Likewise, when interviewed by Italian news source Avvenire, the bishop said that “to vote in favour of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral,” as stated by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in its 2003 document, 'Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons'.
Maltese Prime Minster Joseph Muscat had promised to introduce civil unions prior to winning the general election in March 2013, but giving the right for homosexual couples to adopt was not mentioned in the Party's electoral manifesto. The bill with its adoption clause was presented to Parliament last September.
Since then proponents have argued that under current law persons in homosexual relationships have already been able to adopt by applying as single parents.
Despite a majority disapproval for gay adoption, there is a fierce crossfire over the issue. In contrast, both the Government and the Opposition agree that the small Mediterranean island should pass the Civil Unions Act, legalising civil unions between same-sex couples. The discussion in Parliament is set to continue.