Maltese same-sex couples can officially start applying for weddings this weekend, after Malta made it legal in July.
As of Friday (1 September), couples can now fill out same-sex wedding applications with local officials.
Malta officially legalized same-sex marriage on 12 July, but the law took some time to finalize.
On Friday, Gabi Calleja, from Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGM) told the Washington Blade: ‘Today is when it comes into force.’
In Malta, there is also a six-week waiting period for all couples after they apply for a marriage.
After the announcement in July, Calleja told Gay Star News: ‘It’s quite extraordinary to have come so far in such a small time.’
In a landslide win, the vote passed with only one voice of opposition in government.
She said: ‘It’s great to have both sides of the house vote for equality – unanimously.
‘While of course there are some concerns from the conservative side, Maltese society has become much more accepting of the LGBTI community and rainbow families,’ she said.
The first same-sex marriages are expected to take place in six weeks from now.
LGBTI rights in Malta
In 2015, Malta became the top place in Europe for LGBTI rights, even though it didn’t have same-sex marriage laws.
The International Lesbian-Gay Association ranked the island nation first, beating the UK, Belgium and Sweden.
Malta grants 89% of the total rights for LGBTIQ people, according to the table.
This is a dramatic rise with Malta ranking only in 18th place in 2013. The government recently introduced civil unions and some of the best gender identity laws in the world.
Civil liberties minister Helena Dalli hailed the results as proof of Malta’s progression in human rights.