UPDATE: Former LGBT Man On Trial For Statements on His Conversion to Christianity
Matthew Grech, a maltese 33-year-old Christian, had his first Court trial on Friday 9th of June. He is being prosecuted on the grounds of "breaching the Affirmation of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Expression Act" and promoting "conversion therapy". He could face a prison sentence of up to five months and fines from 1,000 to 5,000 Euro. In the program, aired in April 2022, Grech shared his experience as a homosexual and how he found Christianity, which changed his life forever. Grech did not invite or encourage listeners to undergo any form of "conversion therapy".
The presenters of the PM News programme, where Matthew appeared, are also facing the same charges.
After the program was streamed on social media, Silvan Agius, who serves as a cabinet expert for EU Commissioner for Equality, reported Mr Grech and the presenters to the police. Another source says that the complainant who filed a police report against the TV interview with Grech told the court that he felt “degraded and dirty” after watching the interview. Two other accusers are LGBTIQ rights activist Cynthia Chircop and Christian Attard, formerly a Malta Gay Rights Movement president.
A police officer also confirmed that Grech had appeared on a streamed PM News programme representing the International Federation for Therapeutic and Counselling Choice (IFTCC), an international organisation that offers so-called "conversion therapy" practices.
Agius said Grech had quoted parts of the Bible that condemned homosexuality and he had said it helped him to “abandon his sexuality and return to God.” Silvan Agius also accused the PM News programme of being offensive and demeaning to the LGBTQI+ community. He insisted the content of the programme was illegal and harmful.
Grech's Lawyer, Emmy Bezzina criticised how the complainants would not allow anyone to criticise their views, even though they can criticise the views of others.
Mr Grech believes he is being targeted by members of the Malta Gay Rights Movement, as they believe that Christian beliefs on marriage and human identity, and any debate surrounding LGBT lifestyles, should be treated as a criminal offence.
Ahead of the first hearing, Matthew Grech shared the following words:
“This week I am in a criminal court for the first time for essentially sharing the hope of my Christian faith and what Christians believe.
“My Christian journey of transformation, from being a practising homosexual interested in the occult and wanting to be a reiki master, to becoming a committed evangelical Christian, is one that should be told without fear of being criminalised.
“The law here in Malta on ‘conversion therapy’ is ideological. It tells you what you are supposed to think. They equate Christian preaching and teaching on biblical sexual ethics, with ‘forcing’ someone to change their sexual identity, which is simply not true and does not happen.
“The aim of the approach is to intimidate any other viewpoints, especially Christian beliefs, into silence. They want to discourage people from speaking out or even thinking in a different way on these issues. These laws should have no place in any nation.
“If you think what is happening to me is bad, I have to tell you that the LGBT lobby in Malta are already planning on making them stricter. They want to use my case to strengthen what they are doing.
“The fact that an influential EU official was behind reporting me to the police tells you everything you need to know about how far reaching this is and the powers that are behind it.
“This week we want to expose in the courtroom the true face of what has been put into legislation in Malta. We must be bold and uncompromising and pray for God to deliver us and to deliver Malta from these draconian laws.”
First Story and Picture: OIDAC Europe