Nationalist MP Edwin Vassallo declared this morning he will be voting against the marriage equality law saying it was "morally unacceptable".

Asked by the Times of Malta whether his values came above everything else, Mr Vassallo replied with another question "What are we left with when we put our conscience aside?"

“We need to respect different ideas and if we really believe in diversity then we should permit, in a democratic way, that there are those who have different beliefs.

“Even though I might be in the minority on this, one should respect even those within the smallest of minorities,” Mr Vassallo said.

Speaking in Parliament he said it was a dishonest Bill and its contents did not have anything to do with its aims and objectives. Same-sex marriage, Mr Vassallo he went on, was already part of Maltese law through the Civil Unions Act and what was being proposed was not part of the electoral programme of any of the parties.

Mr Vassallo also said he would also vote against because the Bill because it would pave the way for other future laws that would tamper with pro-life legislation.

He added that he was also voting against the Bill, which he feared would lead to the “culture of death” because he did not trust Prime Minister.

Speaking later, Nationalist MP Robert Cutajar declared that would be voting in favour of the Bill but he was calling for the text to be considered by the Family or Social Affairs committee.

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil has repeatedly declared that the Opposition would support the Bill, as it was about something it had also promised in its electoral manifesto.

The Sunday Times of Malta has reported that a small number of Nationalist MPs want a free vote on gay marriage in Parliament, saying the Bill as drafted would put same-sex marriage on a higher standing than marriage between a man and a woman.