PRESS RELEASE BY THE GOVERNMENT OF MALTA: Maltese Parliament approves Marriage Equality Bill

Reference Number: PR171689, Press Release Issue Date: Jul 12, 2017
The Maltese Parliament approved the Marriage Equality Bill during its third and final reading, making Malta the 25th country in the world, and the 15th in Europe, to approve such a law.  This was the first law which Government moved in Parliament during this new legislature, as promised by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.
The aim of this law is that of modernising marriage law through the mainstreaming of equality for all. This means that the institution of marriage is now fully gender neutral to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, and genderqueer (LGBTIQ) persons are free to contract a marriage with their loved ones, be they of the same or a different sex, and also to parent children without having unnecessary references to their gender or biological make-up on their children’s birth certificates.
It also means that all discrepancies between husband and wife have now been removed. For example, both are now free to adopt or take on their partner’s surname without distinction. Their siblings would then take on the family surname that the couple chooses on their marriage day.
During the process towards the adoption of the Bill, a lot of the discussion centred on whether it was necessary to convert civil marriage to a fully gender neutral institution. Government insisted that this was necessary in order to respect the anti-discrimination provisions in the country’s Constitution adopted in 2014 relative to sexual orientation and gender identity. Additionally, Government indicated that both the Civil Unions Act, and the Cohabitation Act adopted in 2014 and 2016 respectively are both gender neutral, and that marriage should not be an exception. 
A celebration organised by the Government of Malta and the LGBTIQ Consultative Council (a government instituted body consisting of representatives of all LGBTIQ civil society organisations) was held in front of the Auberge de Castille, the seat of the Prime Minister’s Office.