Showing posts with label Malta. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Malta. Show all posts

July 14, 2017

Malta Approves Same Sex Marriages Over The Church's Objections




 Malta Rainbow for Pride



Lawmakers in predominantly Roman Catholic Malta legalized same-sex marriage Wednesday, joining much of Western Europe by replacing the traditional "you are now husband and wife" declaration in civil ceremonies with "you are now spouses."
Only one lawmaker out of 67 in the Maltese parliament voted against the legislation, signaling its broad support on the island nation despite opposition from the Catholic Church.
Nationalist lawmaker Edwin Vassallo cited his Catholic faith and its incompatibility with what he called a "morally unacceptable" law.
"As a Christian politician I cannot leave my conscience outside the door" when voting, Vassallo said.
The Labor government had promised to introduce the bill as its first law after winning a second term last month. Both opposition parties supported it, ensuring its passage.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat hailed the "historic" vote, saying it showed Maltese society had reached "an unprecedented level of maturity."
"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.
Indeed, the law's passage marked the latest evidence of the transformation of the once-conservative nation of about 440,000 people, where divorce was illegal until 2011.
While abortion remains banned in Malta, adoption by same-sex couples has been legal since civil unions were introduced in 2014. Last year, the number of exclusively civil marriages eclipsed the number of church weddings for the first time.
Archbishop Charles Scicluna had opposed the same-sex marriage law, reflecting the church's longstanding view that marriage can only be between a man and woman.
"I can decide that a carob and an orange should no longer be called by their name," he said in a homily a few days after parliament started debating the legislation. "But a carob remains a carob and an orange remains an orange. And marriage, whatever the law says, remains an eternal union exclusive to a man and a woman."
The aim of the law, piloted by Malta Equality Minister Helena Dalli, was to "modernize the institution of marriage" to extend it to all consenting adult couples.
Muscat had said it would be "discriminatory" to have separate laws for mixed and same-sex couples. So the amendments to existing laws included eliminating any reference to "husband and wife." In its place is now the gender-neutral term "spouse" to cover all situations.
The law also calls for the removal of the terms "father" and "mother," to be substituted by "parents." Lesbian couples who have children via medical interventions are distinguished by the terms "the person who gave birth" and "the other parent."
Other changes concern heterosexual marriages: Any reference to "maiden name" is replaced with "surname at birth," while both spouses can choose what surname to take after marriage.
The coordinator of the Malta Gay Rights Movement, Gabi Calleja, said achieving equality in marriage met the LGBT community's aspirations. Most same-sex couples consider marriage to be "the institution that best expresses the commitment and love they have for each other," Calleja said.
More than a dozen European countries have legalized same-sex marriage, all in the western part of the continent. Almost a dozen others, including Italy, have some sort of same-sex unions or civil partnerships, according to the Pew Research Center.

June 25, 2017

The Government of Malta Promises to Move to Legalize Same Sex Marriage






Malta's new government is pledging to push quickly for the legalization of gay marriage, the tiny EU nation's head of state said on Saturday.
President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca said the government's agenda includes introducing more civil rights in what had been long a socially conservative country.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat won a second straight term in June 3 elections.
When Parliament meets on Monday, the first bill on the agenda is for "equality in marriage" to give gay couples the possibility of marrying.
Civil unions were introduced in Malta in 2014; divorce in the predominantly Catholic country was legalized in 2011.
Coleiro Preca said Muscat's government plans to build on his first term's economic successes, including the first budget surplus in three decades. Unemployment last month was registered at 4.1 percent.
She was giving a speech written by the government and traditionally delivered at the ceremonial opening of the new Parliament.
For the first time since 1966, there are more than two parties in Parliament. This legislature's members number 37 for the government and 30 for the opposition, which is made up of the Nationalist Party and the newly-formed Democratic Party.
For the last half century, only the Labor and the Nationalist parties had lawmakers. But in the voting earlier this month, the Democratic Party elected two representatives, Marlene and Godfrey Farrugia, a couple in real life. Despite their same surname, a common one in the island nation, the two are unmarried.
In 2013, they had been elected for Labor. Their election this time marks the first time two candidates who represented a different party in one election has won under another banner in a subsequent ballot.
By STEPHEN CALLEJA, ASSOCIATED PRESS

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