Malta says ‘I do’ to gay marriage

gay marriage

The Mediterranean island of Malta has legalised gay marriage

Lawmakers have replaced terms translating as ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ with the phrase ‘you are now spouses’ in the official marriage ceremony.

The move reflects a promise made by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, following re-election with an overall majority last month.

The new law attracted across-the-board support, not only from Muscat’s Partit Laburista (Labour Party), but both opposition parties as well. In the end it was opposed in Parliament by a single MP, Edwin Vassallo, who claimed same sex marriage was incompatible with his Catholic faith. He declared:

“As a Christian politician I cannot leave my conscience outside the door”.

Prominent Catholic clergy also expressed disapproval, with Archbishop of Malta Charles Scicluna insisting:

“I can decide that a carob and an orange should no longer be called by their name. But a carob remains a carob and an orange remains an orange. And marriage, whatever the law says, remains an eternal union exclusive to a man and a woman.”

Prime Minister Muscat described the vote as “historic” and a sign that Maltese people had achieved “an unprecedented level of maturity.”

The 43 year-old former journalist added:

“We live in a society where we can all say ‘we are equal.'”

Until recently Malta was a highly conservative nation. Divorce itself remained illegal as late as 2011.

Photo of Maltese capital Valetta by Briangotts via Wikipedia

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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