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PN yet to decide on action against defiant Edwin Vassallo

MP defied party line and voted against marriage equality

Edwin Vassallo: “People’s diverse opinions should all be respected, without compromising unity.” Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Edwin Vassallo: “People’s diverse opinions should all be respected, without compromising unity.” Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

The Nationalist Party will be considering and deciding on MP Edwin Vassallo’s decision to defy orders and vote against the introduction of gay marriage, the Times of Malta has been told.

The Marriage Equality Act was approved in Parliament on Wednesday, with Mr Vassallo being the only MP to vote against.

Malta became the 15th EU State to introduce same-sex marriage, just six years after its introduction of divorce.

Asked if any disciplinary action would be taken against Mr Vassallo, a PN spokesman said in an online response the matter would be referred to the relevant party structures for their “consideration and decision”.

Mr Vassallo said he had no intention to resign.

“I view the matter as a closed chapter. I made a decision according to my conscience,” he said, adding that his conscience had not allowed him to follow the party’s stance in favour of same-sex marriage.

Former Nationalist Cabinet minister Tonio Fenech said last month that Opposition leader Simon Busuttil had bypassed the whole parliamentary group when he came out in favour of same-sex marriage.

Speaking to this paper, Mr Vassallo argued that the members of a diverse society should be capable of living together despite differences of opinion. He said unity within both society and the PN did not mean conformity.

“People’s diverse opinions should all be respected, without compromising unity,” he said.

He argued that the same applied to the Labour Party, since, despite the cracks not showing, a lot of its MPs were against the introduction of gay marriage.

Mr Vassallo insisted his stance in Parliament was also a reflection of the fact that a lot of people did not agree with the new law.

“If someone wants to judge me by my beliefs, I will accept that. This is what tolerance is all about. You need to respect those who do not agree with you,” he said.

Asked about the prospect of facing disciplinary proceedings, Mr Vassallo said he would respect any decision taken by the party.

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