Edwin Vassallo, a Nationalist MP, will be voting against the marriage equality law, he announced this morning. Speaking in Parliament, he called the bill “morally unacceptable”, going on to say it would pave the way for other future laws which would tamper with pro-life legislation.
“The law that gives same-sex couples the same rights as married people already exists in the Civil Unions Act,” Vassallo said. He continued by saying he did not trust Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and that his administration is “violating the vocabulary of marriage.”
According to Vassallo, this bill would only bring Malta closer to a “culture of death”. “I want to say no to this law because I have no faith that this administration will not start dictating to us on the rules of life,” he said.
Nationalist MP Claudette Buttigieg, on the other hand, said her party’s abstention to introduce civil unions back in 2014 was a mistake. She went on to say that the abstention was down to PN’s reservations on gay adoption, with PN leader Simon Busuttil wanting “consensus rather than division on the matter”. “I know I hurt people with the decision I took,” she said. “It was a collective decision, but I know that people were expecting something different from me.”
Opposition and PN leader Simon Busuttil had previously said his party will unanimously vote in favour of the bill. “When you go to a gay couple’s civil union celebration, it’s exactly the same as a wedding,” Dr. Busuttil had said. “It’s a wedding – you don’t leave saying ‘I attended a civil union celebration. It’s a celebration of love.”
Earlier last week, The Sunday Times of Malta reported that a small number of Nationalist MPs want a free vote on gay marriage in Parliament, since they believed the drafted bill would put same-sex marriage on “a higher standing than marriage between man a woman.”
PN sources told The Sunday Times of Malta that, behind the scenes, a number of its MPs were uncomfortable with the proposed provisions (including the way the bill removes “mother” and “father” from the law).
This morning, a small group of people announced they will be organising a candlelit vigil in front of Parliament tonight during the MPs’ voting on gay marriage. Movimenti Patrijotti Maltin have already publicly announced their attendance.