The controversy over an X Factor Malta singer’s comments on gay conversion has made it to Parliament, with Equality Minister Helena Dalli criticising TVM for allowing the interview to be aired in the first place.
“That interview should never have been aired in the first place,” Dalli said in response to a parliamentary question by Labour Whip Byron Camilleri. “It did untold damage to our efforts to change social attitudes towards minorities, including LGBTIQ youths. Gay youths don’t need forgiveness or healing, they need understanding.”
In an interview before his audition, Matthew Grech, a vocal teacher and member of the anti-gay Christian group River of Love, spoke about his personal beliefs as a former gay man before converting to serve Jesus. In his comments about the LGBTQI lifestyle and love in general, he said that any marriage other than that between a man and a woman is a “sin”.
“I used to lead a homosexual lifestyle, and then I found God,” he said. “For a long time I stopped following my passions to follow Jesus. There can be love between two men and two women, yes – but only friendship love. Everything else is a sin.”
Grech and his group made it to the next round of the singing competition, after receiving three yeses from judges Howard Keith Debono, Ira Losco and Ray Mercieca.
However, it was his pre-audition interview that got everyone talking, with several people criticising X Factor Malta and TVM for allowing an interview that promotes ‘gay conversion therapy’, a practice that was outlawed in Malta in 2016. Several other did people insisted Grech had a right to speak his mind though, saying the criticism amounted to nothing less than a crackdown on his freedom of speech.