Catholic majority Malta votes to legalise same sex marriage

Image result for marriage equality flag

Image result for marriage equality flag

The new law also intervenes with respect to adoptions, replacing the words "father" and "mother" with "parents", and allows a choice of surname after marriage.

Lawmakers on the predominantly Catholic island of Malta voted to legalise same-sex marriage by 66 votes to 1 on Wednesday evening (12 July).

The vote was one of prime minister Joseph Muscat's first actions following his election victory last month. "By introducing the concept of same-sex marriage, the law is doing away with the differences and natural reciprocity between men and women, as well as with the anthropological basis of a family".

The Maltese parliament has voted in favour of marriage equality.

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

"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 government there said that the aim of the law was to modernise marriage law through the mainstreaming of equality for all.

Muscat had said it would be "discriminatory" to have separate laws for mixed and same-sex couples.

Malta Archbishop Charles Scicluna spoke out against the changes to the Marriage Act and the introduction of gender neutral terminology. Lesbian couples who have children via medical interventions are distinguished by the terms "the person who gave birth" and "the other parent".

In parliament only nationalist politician Edwin Vassallo voted against the law, on grounds of incompatibility between his Catholic faith and what he described as a "morally unacceptable" law.

"A Christian politician can not leave his conscience outside the door" when he enters parliament, Edwin Vassallo said.

More than a dozen European countries have legalized same-sex marriage, all in the western part of the continent.

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