Malta on Friday became the latest
nation where gay and lesbian couples can marry.
Maltese lawmakers in July approved a
same-sex marriage bill.
While the legislation took effect on
Friday and gay couples can apply for a marriage license, Malta's
six-week waiting period means couples won't be able to tie the knot
In June, Maltese Prime Minister Joseph
Muscat was sworn in for a second term in office after calling for a
snap election in May. Muscat's Labour Party won a clear majority in
parliament, paving the way for passage of Muscat's campaign promise
to legalize marriage for gay couples.
The law removes words such as “husband”
and “wife” from the Marriage Act and replaces them with the
Since 2014 Malta has recognized gay
couples with civil unions.
Gabi Calleja, coordinator of the Malta
LGBTQ Rights Movement, told the Washington Blade that Muscat's
government has widely embraced LGBT rights.
“It's been a rapid change over the
last four to five years,” she
Polling shows support for marriage
equality growing from 27 percent in 2006 to 65 percent in 2015.
The Mediterranean island nation is the
European Union's smallest, with a population of 400,000. According
News, Malta's economy is one of the strongest in the 19-member