A leading newspaper in Malta has questioned the gay-hostile voting record of one of the country’s Member of the European Parliament in light of revelations that he is a regular at Brussels gay bars.
LGBT activists are angry that David Casa, 38, voted against motions in the parliament that condemned homophobic violence and discrimination.
Newspaper Il Torca reported in September: “Many homosexuals commented with this newspaper that David Casa was seen a number of times in gay clubs in Brussels.”
Reporters contacted Mr Casa about these allegations and were told that he only goes to gay establishments for “politically-related events.”
“Whenever I am invited from groups and organisations who fight discrimination of every kind, yes I attend,” he told Il Torca.
Malta is one of the most socially conservative countries in the EU.
98% of the population are Roman Catholics, and although homosexuality is legal, there remains significant prejudice.
The Mediterranean island, a British colony until 1964, has around 400,000 inhabitants and is the smallest EU state in terms of both size and population.
In 2000 the government were criticised by gay rights groups for openly homophobic statements criticising EU proposals to treat gay people equally.
Only 18% of the Maltese population support gay marriage, a December 2006 Eurobarometer survey found, and there is significant prejudice against the LGBT community.