Showing posts with label Same Sex Marriage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Same Sex Marriage. Show all posts

October 30, 2018

Rome is Asked 'CanYou Campaign Against The Sons/Daughters of The Men/ Women Sitting on Your Pews?


Someone just got to Rome and where ever he went there was same-sex marriage following through referendum



By Arthur Beesley


Tiernan Brady was director of the referendum campaigns that brought gay marriage to Ireland and Australia, defying entrenched resistance to deliver solid majorities for seismic social change. Now he is bringing the quest for gay rights to a Vatican synod on young people, to be held in Rome next month, in a direct challenge to Catholic teaching against homosexuality.
Brady’s ability to rally voters has drawn comparisons with Lynton Crosby, the Australian electoral guru who has advised Theresa May and Boris Johnson. But can he win over the holy men of Rome? Sipping coffee in his back garden in Dublin, a smiling Brady insists he is undaunted. “The upper management [of the church] is totally out of step [with] where the flock are. And I think part of the whole purpose of the campaign is to demonstrate that so that people can see what’s going on now is damaging to people.”
Brady, 44, laughs at the mention of Crosby. “I don’t get paid that much,” he says. Still, he is a fount of ideas on what can appeal to voters in the shrill era of social media and Donald Trump’s tweets. An obsession with beating up the other side won’t win anything, he argues. In social campaigning, particularly, rising above the fray is crucial.
“How do you show leadership on your own side?” he asks. “The tone we have to set is the tone we have to live with and we can’t allow those clarion voices who are more interested in the war than the peace [to dominate].
“That’s probably the hardest part of the discipline that all campaigns face now,” he adds. All the more so in the no-holds-barred era of Trump. Still, Brady remains convinced that the key to social change is to talk to people instead of at them. “I think so much of winning these campaigns is understanding where people are already,” he says. “Because that’s where you have to meet them — and if you don’t meet them where they are, then you’re standing in a different room wondering why they’re not there.” 
Although Brady’s Australian mission was accomplished last November, he did not return to Dublin until the summer. In Sydney, he had a one-bedroom apartment with a balcony in the trendy district of Darlinghurst. “If you wanted to have anything that resembled a garden you’d have to be so far outside the town or else a multimillionaire,” he says. He is glad to have returned to his house in Dublin, a 1930s former council property in Kilmainham, minutes from the city center. Down the road is the prison where the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising against British rule were executed. Also nearby are the memorial gardens commemorating thousands of Irishmen killed in World War I.
Moving into the house nine years ago, Brady was delighted to find potatoes growing in the garden. He points proudly to an expanse of gooseberry bushes, blackberries, red currants, chives, mint and rocket. “It was the garden I bought it for,” he says. 
The kitchen, extended after he moved in, is the main living space. By the door is a stove heater but Brady hardly ever fires it up. He expects it might be used more when his partner, Wieyin Shen, arrives next year from Sydney. Shen, who works for a business research firm, grew up in the Chinese city of Suzhou. “He’s been here, he loves the people, loves the atmosphere,” says Brady. Still, there may be a “trade-off” for his partner with Ireland’s notoriously damp climate.
On the wall hangs a copy, in Chinese, of the proclamation of Irish independence. It was around Brady’s kitchen table that he spoke with Leo Varadkar before Ireland’s premier, then a minister, declared publicly that he was gay in 2015. “It’s easy to think about it now,” Brady says. “It was a real jump into the dark.… He came over and we talked and plotted and schemed about how he’d do that.”
By the front door, a wall-mounted phone is a reminder of the years Brady spent as a country shopkeeper. He salvaged the black dial-up phone from his gift store and newsagent in the seaside town of Bundoran, where he grew up on the rugged northwestern coast of Donegal. “There’s an interesting thing about tourist towns,” he says. “It’s not that you become more cosmopolitan. I think it’s that you become more aware of people who are different because they flow through your town all the time.”
His time behind the counter was unplanned. Having gone to university in Dublin, he returned home to recuperate after treatment for leukemia. He was made mayor of Bundoran at 25 — and held the post for three years — with Fianna Fáil, the party that dominated Irish politics before the crash of 2008, and was director of elections for the Donegal politician who was once Ireland’s deputy premier.
Later, Brady became involved with the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network in Dublin. The group was campaigning for civil partnership rights for gay couples, an initiative followed by Ireland’s 2015 marriage referendum. This led to an invitation to Sydney. “I didn’t think twice about it,” he says. “You couldn’t be sitting at home a year afterward with your feet on the table watching the result going, ‘I said no to that.…’ I moved to Australia with two suitcases — and moved back with two suitcases.”
Soon he will be on the road again, traveling to Rome for next month’s synod. As head of the Equal Future 2018 campaign, Brady is marshaling LGBT groups from more than 60 countries to contact the bishops and other participants, guided by the principles he deployed in the Irish and Australian votes. “I think one of the things we’ve found in all these campaigns is we can talk about rights all we want, but it’s human stories that people understand and that appeal to people’s humanity,” he says.
“The idea is your story is the most powerful thing you can tell the delegates to this synod, and if you go to the campaign [website] you can log on, type in whatever country you’re from and can send a message directly to them about you and about what your experiences have been,” he explains.
Brady sees this event as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to influence church teaching. But the question of gay rights remains contentious in the Catholic world. The Vatican is riven by conflict between the liberalizing Pope Francis and conservative clerics opposed to his progressive agenda. When the pope visited Ireland last month, LGBT groups were excluded from a church congress on families. More­over, pictures of same-sex-headed families were expunged from congress brochure.
None of this seems to bode well for Brady’s campaign. Yet he sees it differently. “Suddenly everybody focused on the fact [that the pictures] were removed. What I thought was interesting was someone put them in. Someone in the Vatican put those pictures in. So there’s something going on there.
“You can’t be a church that campaigns against the sons and daughters of the men and women who are in your pews, because they won’t understand it,” he says. “I think the church just hasn’t caught up with them — and it’s going to have to.”
He is also quick to note that Pope Francis has urged parents of gay children not to condemn them. On his return flight to Rome from Dublin, the pontiff said such parents should talk to their children and seek to understand.
“So he’s acknowledging the damage,” says Brady. “That’s a big step. Now, what do you want to do about it?”

May 8, 2018

Mariela Castro Will Propose A Same Sex Marriage Law in Cuba





 Havana, Cuba






 Mariela Castro, a Cuban lawmaker and daughter of Communist Party chief Raul Castro, says she will push for gay marriage to be included in a constitutional reform process expected to begin in July.

The reform is expected to encompass a wide range of modernizing changes to Cuba’s 1976 constitution, which was designed for a Soviet-style command economy. The communist government has been slowly introducing market reforms and trying to encourage more interaction with the global economy.

Homosexuality was persecuted in the years after the 1959 revolution led by the Castro family but Cuba has ended anti-gay policies and forbidden workplace discrimination. Mariela Castro has become a prominent gay rights activist.

She told reporters Friday that she would ask that the new charter and accompanying laws allow gay marriage.

May 2, 2018

New Poll Shows Same Sex Marriage Support Among US Religious Groups




 Gay marriage is gaining support even among conservatives

 

 Most religious groups now support same-sex marriage being legal, according to a study released today from PRRI, the Public Religion Research Institute. The survey, which was based on more than 40,000 survey responses collected throughout 2017, finds that twice as many Americans now support same-sex marriage as opposing it, 61% to 30%.

Not surprisingly, support is strongest among members of religious groups that tend to be politically liberal, such as Jews (77%), the unaffiliated (80%), and Unitarians (an overwhelming 97%).

What is more surprising is how quickly support for same-sex marriage has grown among religious groups that are more politically diverse. Two-thirds of Catholics, Orthodox Christians, and white mainline Protestants now say they are in favor.

What's more, majority support now includes African Americans, whose support for same-sex marriage has increased from 41% in 2013 to 52% today. Hispanic Americans also saw double-digit increases, with support rising from 51% in 2013 to 61% today.

As support has grown, the outright opposition has declined, the study shows.

Majorities of Americans in most states support same-sex marriage, with the exceptions all located in the South. Even in the handful of states that do not have more than 50% support for same-sex marriage, they also don't have 50% opposition; Alabama is now the only state in the Union where a majority of residents say they oppose same-sex marriage. 

Support growing more slowly among Mormons and Evangelicals

While support is robust among most religious groups, white evangelicals and Mormons remain the only holdouts and do not express majority support for same-sex marriage. 40% of Mormons and just 34% of white evangelicals say they are in favor.

On the other hand, "there is evidence that even these groups are trending toward majority support," says PRRI.

For one thing, the opposition has decreased by double digits in both groups since 2013 and is now at 58% among white evangelicals and 53% among Mormons. A few years ago, the opposition had broad support among both groups – 71% of evangelicals and 68% of Mormons said no to same-sex marriage.

For another, the trend lines are clear that younger evangelicals and Mormons are significantly more supportive than their elders. Among evangelicals, for example, twice as many young adults favor same-sex marriage (53%) as those over 65 (25%). Mormon Millennials also showed majority support (52%) compared to Mormons over age 65 (32%).

The study also points out that white evangelical Protestants and Mormons represent a declining "market share" in the American religious landscape today, as their numbers are dwindling or remaining stagnant in comparison to the rapid growth of secularism. While they may hold "outsized political influence," combined they represent fewer than one in five Americans today, says Robert Jones, PRRI's CEO.

Most Americans oppose the "baker exception"

The study also showed that six in ten Americans oppose the idea of religiously based service refusals, which is the issue at the center of a major Supreme Court case this year. The court is considering whether a Colorado cake baker should have the right to refuse service to LGBT couples who are getting married if doing so would violate his religious beliefs. 

Members of most religious groups said business owners should not get to choose which clients to serve. This was particularly true among black Protestants, 65% of whom say that business owners should not have the option of denying service to LGBT customers.

Again, Mormons and evangelicals are the outliers. In both groups, 53% say that business owners should have the right to refuse service to gay and lesbian couples.

On a separate question, every religious group had majority consensus on nondiscrimination measures that provide equal legal protections to LGBT people. The lowest was among white evangelical Protestants, with just 54% support, and the highest among Unitarians, at 95%.

Mormons, the study pointed out, are unique in the large gap that exists between their views on different, but related issues.

"Only 40% of Mormons favor allowing same-sex couples to marry, yet nearly seven in ten (69%) support laws that would protect LGBT people from discrimination in housing, public accommodations, and employment—a 29-point gap," said the report. "Among no other major religious group is the gap on these two issues larger."

The margin of error for the entire sample is +/- 1.2 percentage points.

National Catholic Reporter

April 27, 2018

Same Sex Lawsuit in Japan After Man is Kept From Attending Partners Funeral








A 69-year-old man from Osaka Prefecture filed a lawsuit Thursday against his deceased same-sex partner’s sister, seeking assets left behind by his late partner and damages for being barred from attending his cremation.
The rare case involving inheritance from a same-sex partner highlights the problems faced by such couples upon the death of their partners, as legal protection is only currently provided to married couples.
The man sued his partner’s sister at the Osaka District Court, seeking to win back the assets held by her following her brother’s death in March 2016.
The man is also seeking ¥7 million ($64,000) in damages from the woman, saying he was robbed of the chance to arrange the funeral for his long-time partner due to discrimination against sexual minorities.
“I am dissatisfied that I am not legally protected on the grounds that we were a same-sex couple,” said the man, adding that he hopes such discrimination will be eliminated soon.
While there have been cases of same-sex couples filing lawsuits to seek the same rights granted to opposite-sex married couples, a lawsuit over inheritance rights is rare, according to the man’s lawyer.
So far Japan’s top court has not recognized inheritance rights of same-sex couples, or heterosexual couples considered to have been in common law marriages.
Seven municipalities in the country recognize the partnerships of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples, though the recognition does not extend to legal rights or obligations as is the case with marriage under civil law.
The Osaka man said he started to live with his partner from around 1971 and they lived mostly off the money the plaintiff made through his work.
The woman knew they were living together, and the man had attended weddings and other ceremonial events involving his partner’s relatives, he said.
But all of that changed when the partner died at 75. The woman did not allow the man to attend his partner’s cremation and only allowed him to attend the funeral as a visitor rather than as a family member.
The woman also closed the business managed by the partner and terminated an office lease contract without the plaintiff’s consent, while the assets held by the partner automatically went to the woman.
The man claims he and his partner had agreed they would inherit one another’s assets but said he was told by the lawyer representing the woman that he had “absolutely no rights.”
“There seems to be discrimination against gay people even before the legal hurdles,” said Kazuyuki Minami, the man’s lawyer.
“If a same-sex marriage system is established, it would not only ensure the rights of partners but also help resolve irrational discrimination,” he said.

April 24, 2018

40, 000 Same Sex Marriages in France in 5 yrs


 
Thousands of people demonstrated for and against the legislation in the run-up to the vote in the Assembly
 April 23, 2018, marked the fifth anniversary of the legalization of same-sex marriages in France more than
40,000 couples have married in France in the five years since same-sex marriages were legalised, according to official figures.
April 23, 2018, is the fifth anniversary of the date the National Assembly passed laws - following months of demonstrations for and against the laws - allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt children.

January 11, 2018

The Inter-American Human Rights Court Rules for Same Sex Marriage






The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has ruled that same-sex marriages should be recognised.
The court's rulings apply to countries which have signed the American Convention on Human Rights.
Some of the signatories already recognise same-sex marriages while others recognise same-sex civil unions.
But others, such as Bolivia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Paraguay and Peru do not recognise either and will be expected to change their laws.
The court was established by the regional body, the Organization of American States (OAS), and signatories to the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights are bound by its rulings. 

Western hemisphere countries where same-sex marriage is legal:

People celebrate after the Inter-American Court of Human Rights called on Costa Rica and Latin America to recognize equal marriage, in San Jose, Costa Rica, January 9, 2018.                                                                                                               Reuters 
  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Colombia
  • Mexico (certain states only)
  • US
  • Uruguay

The ruling comes as a number of Latin American countries have changed or are debating changing their laws to allow same-sex couples to marry. 
Other western hemisphere countries, such as Ecuador, have introduced same-sex civil unions.

'Without discrimination'

The judges said that governments "must recognise and guarantee all the rights that are derived from a family bond between people of the same sex".
They also said that it was inadmissible and discriminatory for a separate legal provision to be established just for same-sex marriages.
The judges demanded that governments "guarantee access to all existing forms of domestic legal systems, including the right to marriage, in order to ensure the protection of all the rights of families formed by same-sex couples without discrimination".
Recognising the difficulty in passing such laws in countries where there is strong opposition to same-sex marriage, they recommended that governments pass temporary decrees until new legislation was brought in.
The judges issued the ruling in response to a motion brought by Costa Rica. 
The Central American government asked the court to give its opinion on whether it had an obligation to extend property rights to same-sex couples. The court ruled that it did. 
The Costa Rican government also wanted to know whether it should allow transgender people to change their name on their identity documents. Again, the court ruled that it should.
Costa Rica's Vice-President Ana Helena Chacón welcomed the court's ruling, saying it would be adopted "in its totality".
 BBC

December 8, 2017

Australia Goes All The Way and Approves Same Sex Marriage


From Apartheid marriage to Same-Sex marriage in 13 years:

 Australia’s Parliament voted overwhelmingly to legalize same-sex marriage on Thursday, overcoming years of conservative resistance to enacting change that the public had made clear that it wanted.
The final approval in the House of Representatives, with just four votes against the bill, came three weeks after a national referendum showed strong public support for gay marriage. The Senate passed the legislation last week.
“This belongs to us all,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, a longtime supporter of same-sex marriage who had previously failed to get it legalized, said on Thursday. “This is Australia: fair, diverse, loving and filled with respect. For every one of us, this is a great day.”
After the vote, spectators in the public gallery began singing “I Am Australian,” a well-known anthem. Lawmakers stood and looked up at the gallery, some wiping tears from their eyes. 
The new law expands on earlier legislation that provided equality to same-sex couples in areas like government benefits, employment, and taxes, and it changes the definition of marriage from “the union of a man and a woman” to “the union of two people.” It automatically recognizes same-sex marriages from other countries.
Gay rights advocates praised the landmark vote even as they said it was long overdue. In a country where there had been 22 unsuccessful attempts in Parliament to legalize same-sex marriage since 2004, they said, the law should be seen as the triumph of a democracy learning to live up to its values.

Photo

Celebration at a bar in Sydney after the bill passed. The Australian public voted decisively for legalizing gay marriage in a nonbinding referendum last month. CreditDaniel Munoz/Getty Images 

“This is a big victory,” said Evan Wolfson, the founder of Freedom to Marry, which led the campaign for marriage equality in the United States. “It is a huge affirmation of the dignity of gay people in yet another country, and that will reverberate in the lives of people across Australia and the world.” A handful of lawmakers tried to add amendments that they said were meant to safeguard religious freedoms for opponents of same-sex marriage, but their efforts failed. Mr. Turnbull noted that nothing in the legislation requires ministers or other celebrants to oversee weddings of gay couples or threatens the charity status of religious groups that oppose same-sex marriage, two concerns the lawmakers had raised.
The final debate in the House of Representatives, which lasted four days, featured more than 100 speakers.
On the first day, there was a marriage proposal: Tim Wilson, a gay member of Parliament with the center-right Liberal Party, spoke of the struggles he and his partner, Ryan Bolger, had encountered as a couple, before choking up, finding him in the public gallery and asking: “Ryan Patrick Bolger, will you marry me?”
The answer came loud and clear — “yes” — as did public congratulations from the deputy speaker, Rob Mitchell.
That was followed by hours of emotional speeches, as politicians on the left and right fell into a rare moment of relative consensus and moving closer to public sentiment, which has favored same-sex marriage for years, according to polls.
Even former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, a staunch critic of same-sex marriage, seemed to have softened. 
“When it comes to same-sex marriage, some countries have introduced it via the courts, some via Parliament, and others — Ireland and now Australia — by a vote of the people,” Mr. Abbott said. “And that is the best way because it resolves this matter beyond doubt or quibble.”
For many lawmakers and gay-rights advocates working behind the scenes, the debate took on the feel of a communal reckoning with Australia’s long history of homophobia.
At one point, Adam Bandt, a Greens Party lawmaker from Melbourne, paused for a moment of silence after referring to the “innocent blood” of gay Australians who were hurt during the long battle for marriage equality.
Bill Shorten, the leader of the opposition Labor Party, asked for forgiveness “for the long delay, for the injustices and the indignities both great and small.”
He also paid tribute to a Labor Party colleague, Senator Penny Wong, a gay politician who he said had walked “a lonely road and a hard road” to help change Australia.
Passage came just weeks after 61 percent of voters in a nonbinding national referendum, conducted by mail, expressed support for same-sex marriage. Advocates for gay marriage assailed the Turnbull government’s decision to hold the referendum, calling it a delaying tactic intended to appease his party’s far-right faction.
“Our very identity has been the subject of public scrutiny and public debate,” Senator Wong said after the referendum results were announced. “Through this campaign, we have seen the best of our country and also the worst.”

Photo

Warren Entsch, a lawmaker with the governing Liberal Party, celebrating with Linda Burney of the opposition Labor Party after the bill passed. There were only four votes against the legislation.CreditLukas Coch/European Pressphoto Agency 

At her office in Parliament House this week, Ms. Wong said Mr. Turnbull’s decision to pursue the referendum had unleashed a campaign of fear-mongering and hate that she would struggle to forgive.
“It is a hard thing to have others judge whether you deserve to be equal,” she said. “And it is an even harder thing to have your family and your children besmirched by those who want to perpetuate discrimination.”
Many other gay Australians said they had been hurt and frustrated by the referendum process.
“The conversation around marriage equality was being dominated by those who were against it,” said Tristan Meecham, the artistic director of the performance company All the Queens Men and the founder of the Coming Back Out Ball, meant to encourage older gay Australians not to return to the closet.
Left out of the discussion, he added, were issues that go beyond marriage, such as the way older men and women deal with earlier traumas tied to prejudice and gay bashing, or suicide among teenagers dealing with issues of gender and sexuality.
“People need to realize that marriage is a certain thing for a certain part of the community, but the real social mission behind all of this is equality,” Mr. Meecham said. “And there is a lot of work that still needs to be done.”
Still, he said, he could not deny the sense of validation that the process had delivered.
“There’s a breathing process,” he said, “a relief, a cleansing.”
In Parliament after the vote, there was mostly jubilation and relief.
Hamish Taylor, 22, from Melbourne, walked out of the gallery and embraced his best friend in a bear hug. “I’m absolutely gobsmacked,” he said. “My heart is beating out of my chest. This debate has been in my life ever since I knew I was gay.”

Photo

Campaigners for same-sex marriage outside Parliament House before the vote on Thursday.CreditLukas Coch/Australian Associated Press, via Reuters 

Of the result, he said, “It’s alleviated a life of shame and embarrassment of who I am,” adding: “It’s just validated everyone’s love here and around Australia.”
In many countries where same-sex marriage is already legal, the tangible effects of institutional acceptance have become more visible, and positive, studies have found.
One study published earlier this year, in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, found that reducing societal stigma through marriage legalization had led to a 14 percent reduction in suicide attempts among lesbian, gay and bisexual teenagers.
Mr. Wolfson said that in both the United States and Spain, which legalized same-sex marriage in 2005, polls have found support for same-sex marriage growing instead of diminishing, a sign of the laws’ positive effects.
“Families are helped and no one is hurt,” he said. “The evidence is overwhelming.”
For now, though, Australia is more focused on the immediate, with the first legal same-sex weddings expected in early January.
In his chambers the day after proposing to his partner, Mr. Wilson seemed exhausted and relieved. He said that after many false starts, he was thrilled to finally be getting married in his hometown, Melbourne, early next year.
“People kept saying go and get married overseas, and we always took a very firm view that we couldn’t do that,” Mr. Wilson said. “We had to get married in our home city.”
He predicted a small, private and proud celebration.
By Damien Cave and Jacqueline Williams  
Damien Cave reported from Sydney and Jacqueline Williams from Canberra, Australia.

July 25, 2017

Kirin Beer Celebrates Same Sex Marriage iWith Its Employees in Japan



A step towards same-sex marriages being officially recognisedthroughout Japan?
With same-sex partnerships now officially recognised in some parts of Japan, a number of companies have made public announcements in support of greater LGBT rights and awareness within their corporations and in society in general. On the heels of Panasonic’s announcement last year, beer and soft drinks giant Kirin Holdings, Ltd. has announced a change to its guidelines to ensure there is no discrimination based upon sexual orientation or gender identity, and to recognise employees’ same-sex marriages from the start of this month. Common-law marriages will be similarly recognised.
Company rules regarding things like condolence leave, company housing, and assorted benefits will be rewritten so that common-law or same-sex couples receive them in the same way as their married colleagues currently do. Medical leave will also be changed to allow time off for procedures such as hormone therapy, which were previously not covered. They have also announced they will be holding workshops to raise diversity awareness amongst employees and customers.
▼ Kirin has previously been praised by Japanese LGBT groups for their packaging collaboration with Japanese company Glico, which showed same-sex couples kissing.

 The Kirin craft beer subsidiary Spring Valley Brewery also supported this year’s Tokyo Rainbow Pride event and had a booth there, with the rather catchy slogan that “both people and beers are all different, and are all good.”
While these are clearly positive changes and show a move in the right direction when it comes to equality, there is still a lot to be done. It’s fair to say that the support of large companies will go some way to influencing smaller companies and their workers in a trickle-down effect, although that may not create change as fast as some might like it.
While the LGBT community faces challenges all over the world, sometimes Japan can appear to have more hurdles than many other developed countries, as this commercial shows, and so these announcements, and those of housing organisations like Suumo, should be applauded. How about a beer to celebrate?
Source: Kirin
Top image: Flickr/Xiaojun Deng


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.

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