Malta’s Auxiliary Bishop has spoken out to express his displeasure at the lack of a clear difference between marriage and civil partnerships in the debate around civil partnerships for same-sex couples in Malta, saying that gay people do “not produce offspring” so do “not have a role in society”.

Auxiliary Bishop Charles Scicluna made the comments on PBS’s Dissett, during an interview with the PBS Head of News Reno Bugeja.

“While the sexual activity of heterosexual couples has a fundamental role in producing future members of the society, that of same-sex couples does not have a role in society as it does not produce offspring,” he said.

He said he wanted a clear distinction between marriages and civil unions, in the Maltese parliament on its civil unions bill.

He continued: “Currently, the obligations and rights of members within a civil union are barely different from those within a marriage and consequently, parliament needs to clearly distinguish the rights pertinent to a marriage and those to a civil union.”

A bill to introduce civil unions for gay couples in Malta is currently at its second reading in Malta.

Malta’s Equality Minister Helena Dalli told a press conference last month that the Civil Unions Bill will recognise same-sex partnerships and give them the same rights and duties as married heterosexual couples – including the right to adopt children.

Bishop Scicluna, however in February stepped in to condemn a provocative letter written by zealous Catholic churchgoer Joe Zammit who claimed there can only be lust and not love between gay people.

Malta’s Catholic bishops last month expressed concern over the country’s proposed civil partnership bill, stating “Children should preferably be brought up by their parents, a man and a woman.”