Malta has elected a new prime minister, and he is determined to pass same-sex marriage by the end of July.
The small southern European island has civil unions, envious trans and intersex laws, and is the only European country to ban dangerous ‘gay cure’ therapy.
But now Malta is once again leading the world on LGBTI rights by finally making marriage equality a reality.
PL leader Joseph Muscat, in his victory speech, said he is determined to pass the drafted legislation before parliament is dissolved for the summer break.
It is likely there will be little to no opposition as same-sex marriage was in the manifestos of both political parties.
‘As civil unions give same-sex couples the same rights in legislation, it’s more symbolic than anything else,’ Gabi Calleja, from LGBTI rights group Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGM), told Gay Star News.
‘We kept asking for it, it stayed on the agenda, and civil unions were seen as the stepping stone before marriage equality. We’re very pleased equal marriage is happening just three years after the Civil Union Act’.
Malta still banned divorce in 2011
Malta is unusual as it was one of three countries that still banned divorce in 2011. The others were, and still are, Vatican City and the Philippines.
Following the divorce referendum, the rights of LGBTI people has drastically changed over the past few years.
‘The divorce referendum was a key factor,’ Calleja continued, ‘as it undermined the power of the Catholic Church regarding family law and morality. The LGBTI movement worked fast, gaining visibility and garnering political support, and we have been able to see how Maltese society has transformed.’
She added: ‘Same-sex marriage is an affirmation LGBTI people are supported and integrated in Maltese society. People who oppose LGBTI rights are on the wrong side of history’.