Simon Busuttil: MPs obliged to vote according to party line on gay marriage

Simon Busuttil said that while MPs were free to voice their disagreement, the party needed to remain united for the common good on the issue of marital equality

Opposition MPs should vote in favour of the marriage equality in the interest of party unity, said Simon Busuttil
Opposition MPs should vote in favour of the marriage equality in the interest of party unity, said Simon Busuttil

Nationalist Party leader Simon Busuttil has insisted that MPs were obliged to vote according to the party’s official position and to work towards a united party.

Speaking during an interview on Radio 101, Busuttil stressed that while parliamentary group members were free to speak their mind, even in parliament, it did not make sense for the party to be divided, “as Joseph Muscat wants it to be”.

The PN leader said that the PN had opted to support the bill for a number reasons, chief among which was the fact that, upon the introduction of civil unions in 2014, same-sex couples had already been given all the rights conferred by marriage.

“At this point, it is no longer a question of gay marriage but one of respecting people,” he explained.

He insisted that the PN must recognise that the LGBTIQ community deserves rights had by everyone else, pointing out that anyone could knew someone who was had a sexual orientation that was not identical to theirs while questioning why parents to LGBTIQ children should be forced to tell them they were not deserving of these rights.

Busuttil emphasised that while the issue was a sensitive one for those with strong religious convictions, politicians needed to rise above what the church was demanding and to think of their responsibility as legislators.

“In my opinion, the greatest common good is for us to vote in favour of this law in parliament because we must be there for everyone, irrespective of their religious beliefs,” said Busuttil.

FIAU dismissals

Asked about the dismissal of high-ranking FIAU officials last week, Busuttil the country could only retain a sense of justice if the Nationalist Party remained vigilant.

He said he hoped for that the magisterial inquiries currently underway to be completed as quickly as possible so that the nation can know the “whole truth”. Furthermore, he said the PN would continue insisting that Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri had opened companies in Panama in order to engage in corrupt practices.

Busuttil accused Muscat of disrupting the rule of law by introducing a mentality whereby the law did not apply to everyone in the same way.

Referring to the two dismissals, Busuttil said they showed that those who did their job would be sacked or face retribution.

Finally, Busuttil said the PN had set up a team to investigate potential vote-buying tactics before the last election, including “over 1,000 government jobs in Gozo as well as thousands of promotions and other jobs.

He said the Opposition, and the media, would remain persistent and the only guarantee for the country’s democracy to remain intact over the next five years. 

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