Malta OKs same- sex mar­riages over Catholic Church protest

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - WORLD -

VAL­LETTA, Malta — Law­mak­ers in pre­dom­i­nantly Ro­man Catholic Malta le­gal­ized same-sex mar­riage Wed­nes­day, join­ing much of West­ern Europe by re­plac­ing the tra­di­tional “you are now hus­band and wife” dec­la­ra­tion in civil cer­e­monies with “you are now spouses.” Only one law­maker out of 67 in the Mal­tese par­lia­ment voted against the leg­is­la­tion, sig­nalling its broad sup­port on the is­land na­tion de­spite op­po­si­tion from the Catholic Church. Na­tion­al­ist law­maker Ed­win Vas­sallo cited his Catholic faith and its in­com­pat­i­bil­ity with what he called a “morally un­ac­cept­able” law. “A Chris­tian politi­cian can­not leave his con­science out­side the door,” when he en­ters par­lia­ment, Vas­sallo said. The La­bor gov­ern­ment had promised to in­tro­duce the bill as its first law af­ter win­ning a sec­ond term last month. Both op­po­si­tion par­ties sup­ported it, en­sur­ing its pas­sage.

The aim of the law, pi­loted by Malta Equal­ity Min­is­ter He­lena Dalli, was to “mod­ern­ize the in­sti­tu­tion of mar­riage” to ex­tend it to all con­sent­ing adult cou­ples.

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