When a couple gets married in the Catholic-majority island of Malta from now on, they will no longer hear, “You are now husband and wife.” Instead, regardless of their genders, the priest (or judge, ship captain, or friend who took an online course) will now declare, “You are now spouses.”
The Maltese parliament today legalized same-sex marriage in a vote of 66-1, changing the official language administered during marriage ceremonies.
Malta had already opened up civil partnerships and adoption to gay couples in 2014, which by itself represented a large shift away from the island-state’s conservative background. Up until 2011, divorce was still illegal.
The Maltese parliament made additional amendments to existing laws to change the terms “father” and “mother” to “parents,” and to replace “maiden name” with “surname at birth.”