Malta, EU’s smallest nation, becomes the 15th member of the bloc to legalise same-sex marriage. The predominantly Catholic island of Malta voted for legalisation of the same-sex union on Wednesday evening, July 12. The lawmakers voted 66-1 in favour of the bill. The only MP who did not vote for the bill said he could not support it because of his faith. “As a Christian politician, I cannot leave my conscience outside the door,” PN’s Edwin Vassallo was quoted saying by AP.
However, Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat called it a ‘historic vote’ and said that the decision shows the level of maturity in the community and now everyone is equal. Hundreds of people gathered outside the Auberge de Castille, the prime minister’s office in Valletta, to celebrate as the building was lit up in rainbow colours with the words “We made history” projected onto it.
The bill is an important landmark for the deeply Catholic country, which legalised divorce in 2011 and introduced civil-partnerships in 2014.
The new bill, which brought amendments to the existing marriage act, removed words such as “husband” and “wife”, replacing them with the more gender-neutral “spouse”. “Mother” and “father” were also replaced, with “parent who gave birth” and “parent who did not give birth” being introduced instead. A 2014 piece of legislation also allows for same sex couples to adopt children. However, abortion is still banned in the country.