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Malta expected to pass gay unions legislation

Europe
14.04.2014
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Valletta (dpa) - The Maltese parliament is expected to sanction a civil unions bill late on Monday, giving gay couples the same rights as heterosexual couples in the predominantly Catholic country.

Efforts to pass the legislation, which has stirred a controversy in recent weeks, see Malta‘s Labour government delivering on a key electoral pledge.

The opposition Nationalist Party is expected to abstain from the vote, primarily because the legislation gives gay couples the right to adopt.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat described the change as a very important moment for Malta.

"This is the essence of equality, the apex of European values. It also shows that with political will, even a conservative society can boldly transform itself," Muscat told dpa.

The new law has incensed the Catholic Church, with Auxiliary Bishop Charles Scicluna arguing that equating same-sex unions with marriage is "illogical" and "deceptive".

Over 90 per cent of the Maltese population claims to be Catholic. The conservative country only legislated in favour of divorce in 2011.

Ilga-Europe, a gay advocacy group, last year placed the country at the bottom of a list ranking countries in terms of their attitudes towards gay rights.

 

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