Helena Dalli announces bill to legalise gay marriages

Gay marriage bill in the pipeline, will be 'more than just a cosmetic name change' from civil unions 

A Bill is being drafted that would legalise gay marriage in Malta, civil liberties minister Helena Dalli has announced.

Addressing a conference organised by Drachma, a NGO representing LGBTIQ Christians, Dalli said that the Bill will be entitled the ‘Marriage Equality Bill’ and will be presented to Cabinet before eventually being tabled in Parliament.

A spokesperson for Dalli told MaltaToday that the Bill will not simply be cosmetic change in nomenclature from the current civil unions, but will also include “various changes”. He declined to comment further. 

If it passes, it means that Malta will be the 23rd country in the world and the 13th in Europe to legalise gay marriage.

The last time gay marriage was mooted in a public debate was on 4 March, 2016, when Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said he was in favour of gay marriage and believed it was time for a debate on the matter, during a party activity to mark Woman's Day. The Nationalist Party had then accused Muscat of using the issue to deviate public attention from the Panama Papers, which had then just broke a week earlier.

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil had then also said he would support the “change of name” to marriages but accused Muscat of creating a “non-issue” to deviate public attention from the Panama Papers scandal.

Malta is currently ranked first in the International Lesbian-Gay Association’s ‘Rainbow Europe’ league for LGBTIQ rights, ahead of the United Kingdom and Belgium.

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