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Malta votes to legalise same-sex civil unions and adoption

By Will Stroude


Malta is to legalise same-sex civil unions and adoption by gay couples following a vote yesterday (April 14).

Law-makers in the Maltese parliament voted 37-0 to introduce the measures, which afford registered partners the same legal rights as married couples.

The opposition Nationalist Party chose to abstain from the vote, saying that while it supports the principle of same-sex civil unions, it has concerns over allowing gay couples to adopt.

The vote sparked celebrations outside parliament in capital city Valletta’s Palace Square, which was lit up in rainbow colours after the result of the vote was announced.

“Malta is now more liberal and more European, and it has given equality to all its people,” said the country’s Labour Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

The socially conservative country – which only legalised divorce in 2011 – previously allowed single gay adults to adopt, but banned joint adoption by gay couples on the basis that they did not constitute a family unit.

Once Maltese President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca signs the bill into law – as is expected – the country will become the 22nd European nation to legally recognise same-sex unions.

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