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Today’s vote ‘is final chapter in gay marriage stand-off’

Vassallo to continue to 'fight for what is right'

Nationalist MP Edwin Vassallo says today’s vote on the gay marriage Bill is the final chapter of his stand-off with the party leadership on the issue but warns his fight for what is right will continue.

Mr Vassallo was asked by the Times of Malta yesterday about his voting intentions ahead of this evening’s parliamentary session in which legislators are expected to give the go-ahead for the introduction of same-sex marriages in Malta.

Despite the fact that the Nationalist Party had included gay marriage in its manifesto, his reservations raised before the June 3 election had been ignored as was his request for a free vote

Following today’s vote at third reading stage, the Bill will then be presented to the President for her assent and eventually published in The Malta Government Gazette.

Mr Vassallo fuelled controversy when he voted against the Bill at second reading in defiance of the party Whip, saying the proposed law went beyond the government’s electoral mandate.

Any disciplinary action against him would only be taken after tonight’s vote, a party spokesman told this newspaper.

Though Mr Vassallo has been insisting on a free vote, he would not say in advance how he would be voting today.

“Once I will make my decision, this will be a closed chapter,” Mr Vassallo said.

“However, I won’t stop fighting for what is right and, in this regard, the chapters will remain wide open,” he added.

Mr Vassallo has already sounded the alarm bells on plans to introduce surrogacy. In an interview with this newspaper, the MP said his long-term objective was to ensure that whenever legislators would be asked to vote on matters of conscience and morality, they would be granted a free vote.

He also pointed out that, despite the fact that the Nationalist Party had included gay marriage in its manifesto, his reservations raised before the June 3 election had been ignored as was his request for a free vote.

PN leader Simon Busuttil has urged MPs who disagreed with the party’s position to toe the line nonetheless, ruling out a free vote.

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