Malta parliament OKs gay marriage
VALLETTA, Malta — Lawmakers in 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, signaling its broad support on the island nation despite opposition from the Catholic Church.
The Labor Party-led government had promised to introduce the bill after winning a second term last month. Both opposition parties supported it, ensuring its passage.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat hailed the “historic” vote, saying it showed Maltese society had reached “an unprecedented level of maturity.”
Indeed, the law’s passage marked the latest evidence of the transformation of the once-conservative nation of about 440,000 people, where divorce was illegal until 2011.
Adoption by same-sex couples has been legal since civil unions were introduced in 2014. Last year, the number of exclusively civil marriages eclipsed the number of church weddings for the first time.