By: William Lopez, Staff Writer

VALLETA, MALTA — Today,  Malta’s parliament in Valleta passed the first vote making same-sex marriage the law of the land.  The law signals the latest shift in attitudes towards same-sex marriage in the staunchly Catholic country especially since the 2011 referendum that legalized divorces. Ever since that land breaking move, Malta has introduced civil unions and last year became the first EU member state to ban “gay cure” therapy.

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Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in June announced that gay marriage would be one of his priorities after he won a snap election. “Malta wants to keep leading on LGBT issues and civil liberties, to serve as a model for the rest of the world,” Muscat told the BBC.

Evelyne Paradis, executive director in the European region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, released a statement to the press welcoming the statements of Prime Minister Muscat.

“The new law is the missing piece in the puzzle when it comes to family rights in Malta,” said Paradis. “The use of gender-neutral terms means that everyone is equal and it is much more inclusive, particularly when it comes to the trans community.” said Paradis.

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Not everyone is on board with the new law as some conservative lawmakers have voiced that they would vote against new measure to make same-sex marriage the law of the land.   Nationalist lawmaker Edwin Vassallo said ” I will be opposing the bill because it was “morally unacceptable.” said Vassallo. “Prime Minister Muscat is causing social destruction which goes against the natural laws.” said Vassallo.

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