Published: Thu, July 13, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Malta says yes to same-sex marriage

Malta says yes to same-sex marriage

Wednesday's vote makes Malta the 15th in Europe, and the 24th in the world, to embrace marriage equality.

Nationalist lawmaker Edwin Vassallo cited his Catholic faith and its incompatibility with what he called a "morally unacceptable" law.

"A Christian politician can not leave his conscience outside the door" when he enters parliament, Edwin Vassallo said. Both opposition parties supported it, ensuring its passage.

"We live in a society where we can all say 'we are equal, '" Muscat said as a celebration erupted outside his office in Valletta, the capital.

The vote marks a milestone for Malta, a deeply catholic country of 440,000 inhabitants.

It follows the country introducing civil partnerships for same-sex couples back in 2014. Malta is slowly moving away from its Catholic roots and a year ago for the first time there were more civil ceremonies than wedding ceremonies.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna made a sly dig in a tweet about carobs and oranges. "And marriage, whatever the law says, remains an eternal union exclusive to a man and a woman".

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The aim of the law, piloted by Equality Minister Helena Dalli, is to "modernize the institution of marriage" to give all consenting adult couples the right to marry.

Under the new provisions, the traditional formula "And now I declare you husband and wife" will be replaced by "Now you are married".

"Mother" and "father" were also removed, with "parent who gave birth" and "parent who did not give birth" being introduced instead.

Other changes concern heterosexual marriages.

"We are not against gays", he recently told a church community, according to the BBC.

The Netherlands was the first European country to legalise same-sex marriage, in 2001, with the most recent being Germany on June 30 after a surprising shift on the issue by Chancellor Angela Merkel.

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