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A man is facing unprecedented criminal charges for publicly speaking about leaving the gay lifestyle after he became a Christian.
Matthew Grech, a 33-year-old Maltese Christian charity worker, faces up to five months in prison and could be fined more than $5,000 for allegedly advertising “conversion practices” when he spoke to a local media outlet last year about leaving homosexual practices.
“I was shocked when the police called me out of the blue and said they were summoning me for interrogation,” Grech said.
Grech is a trustee of Core Issues Trust, which describes itself as “a non-profit Christian ministry supporting men and women with homosexual issues who voluntarily seek change in sexual preference and expression.” He works closely with the International Federation for Therapeutic and Counseling Choice (IFTCC) and X-Out Loud.
He said LGBT activists in the Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM) reported him to the police after he spoke to PMnews Malta about his testimony in April 2022.
“I understood that in the Bible, homosexuality is not an identity as we make it nowadays. And neither is it a feeling, but a practice. This means that no matter what sexual feelings a man or a woman is experiencing, if they have sexual relations with a person of the same sex, they commit the homosexual act in God’s eyes, and that is a sin,” Grech said at the time. “Just like every other sin, one can repent from it and ask God for forgiveness and ask Him for strength to overcome… I’m talking here from a Christian perspective…”
Grech and the person who interviewed him are set to appear before the Court of Magistrates in Valletta on Feb. 3. He is being represented by lawyers at the Christian Legal Centre.
According to Christian Concern, “at no point during the program did Mr. Grech invite any listener to attend therapy or encourage anyone to get help for unwanted same-sex attraction.”
His legal counsel plans to argue the charges are a violation of his rights to freedom of expression under the Constitution of Malta and the European Convention of Human Rights.
Andrea Williams, the CEO of Christian Legal Centre, warned the “conversion therapy ban” that began in Malta in 2016 could have a “domino effect” across the world.
Malta was the first country in the EU to criminalize practices that would seek to “change, repress or eliminate a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression.”
The law is similar to the “conversion therapy bans” throughout the world, including in 20 states and more than 100 municipalities in the United States, Fox News reports.
“The actions of the police are deeply concerning, and we have not seen anything like this before. We face no alternative but to fight for justice for Matthew and to ensure no one else experiences what he had,” Williams said.
“It is vital to win this case, not just for people in Malta, but for Christian freedoms and the freedom to leave homosexuality and unwanted same-sex attraction across the world,” she added.
WATCH MATTHEW GRECH SPEAK ABOUT THE CASE BELOW: