Following a 66-1 vote in the Maltese Parliament, gay marriage in Malta is now legal.
The small island nation has been staunchly Catholic throughout its history. Divorce in Malta was only allowed to take place since 2011. But according to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, the country’s ideology is evolving. “It’s a historic vote. This shows that our democracy and society have reached a level of maturity and we can now say that we are all equal,” said Muscat.
Opposition leader Simon Busuttil took to Twitter to share his excitement over the historic vote.
— Simon Busuttil (@SimonBusuttil) July 12, 2017
The new law not only allows same-sex couples to legally marry, but also amends the Marriage Act with more inclusive language. It replaced words like “husband” and “wife” with “spouse”, as well as changed “mother” and “father” with “parent who gave birth” and “parent who did not give birth”.
Due to a six-week waiting period for all marriages in Malta, and the government’s decision to give departments time to change the language on applicable forms, same-sex couples should be able to marry in about 3 months.
News of the historic vote prompted hundreds to gather outside the Prime Minister’s office in a celebration organized by the Malta Gay Rights Movement.