(AP) The predominantly Roman Catholic island nation of Malta is set to legalize gay marriage, joining much of Western Europe by replacing the traditional “you are now husband and wife” declaration in civil ceremonies with “you are now spouses.”
The Catholic Church had opposed the legislation, which the Labor government promised to introduce as its first law after winning a second term last month and which both opposition parties support. The only question heading into Wednesday’s parliamentary vote was whether there would be any votes against.
The aim of the law, piloted by Equality Minister Helena Dalli, is to “modernise the institution of marriage” to extend it to all consenting adult couples.
Its passage is the latest evidence of the transformation of the once conservative island nation of about 440,000 people, where divorce was illegal until 2011. [More]