The leading LGBTQ+ rights association in Malta has condemned a protest that a conservative Catholic group organized to protest Pride Week in the European island nation.
Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM) strongly criticized a rosary rally staged by Pro Malta Christiana (PMC) on the day after Pride week ended. The stated purpose of the rally was to pray “in reparation” for the events that had just taken place. PMC’s claim, reported by Lovin Malta, was that:
“We are not motivated by any personal animosity towards persons with same-sex attractions or gender dysphoria, but rather our love for Christian civilization and the morals and institutions that are so essential to it. Since these structures are being publicly and ostentatiously attacked, it is only fitting that Catholics make a public act of reparation.”
MGRM’s statement opened comically, saying that “Rosary Rally is the drag name we did not know we needed.” The statement continued, “Practicing religion in this way, by aggregating ‘in reparation’ of other people’s realities cannot be the right way to practice love and respect. We cannot think of anything less Christian than that.”
Malta’s week of events for Pride was attended by thousands of LGBTQ+ folks and allies, including the prime minister and other politicians. Lovin Malta reported MGRM’s accounts of the celebrations:
“We marched in yesterday’s Pride March alongside 12,000 people who we are certain included Catholics, Muslims and other people who are faithful to their religions,” the group said. “We celebrated love and acceptance. We marched to celebrate happiness and give others who are struggling support in the knowledge that they are not alone in this journey.”
Other leaders supported MGRM’s remarks. Sandra Gauci, a Maltese blogger, expressed her reaction to the “Rosary Rally” by saying, “Pride started from love and the celebration of it. THIS rosary thing stems from hate. Stop using religion to excuse your prejudice.”
This “Rosary Rally” is not the first time a post-Pride action was held by conservative Maltese Catholics. The positive news is that Malta, where most residents are Catholic and the faith is even the state religion, is a global leader on LGBTQ+ rights. In 2018, ILGA-Europe ranked Malta as first among 49 European countries when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights. The country has banned conversion therapy, passed marriage equality, and referred to as the “gold standard” on transgender rights. Maltese church leaders have been quite inclusive of LGBTQ+ people, too. The anti-Pride protestors may have a loud voice, but they do not represent the majority of Maltese Catholics.
—Anushah Sajwani (she/her), New Ways Ministry, October 22, 2022