The Mediterranean island nation of Malta took another big step towards marriage equality today when its parliament voted almost unanimously to advance a marriage equality bill after the third and final debate on the issue.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat of the Labor Party put forward the bill last month. The first and second votes on the bill were successfully held in late June.
According to The Times of Malta, the bill will amend the existing Marriage Act and other laws by changing references to husband and wife to “spouse” and changing references to father and mother to “parents.” The Civil Unions Act will also be amended to allow those in existing civil unions to convert their unions into marriage within five years. Same-sex couples will also be given equal adoption rights.
The bill will now be presented to the president for his assent. After that, it will be published in the government gazette and will then become law.
This vote follows an important vote in Germany last month that should result in marriage equality in the coming months. In addition, we could see progress on marriage equality in Australia and Chile by the end of this year.