Maltese lawmakers voted on Wednesday to legalize same-sex marriage on the Roman Catholic Mediterranean island, fulfilling Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s campaign promise to make this the first law brought before parliament in his new term.
Malta was the 24th country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage with today’s vote coming just two weeks after German lawmakers approved a similar measure in June.
The opposition Nationalist Party backed the introduction of same-sex marriage, despite fierce criticism from some conservatives, who said it marked a damaging departure from the party’s Christian-Democratic principles.
The vote was 66-1 with the lone objector saying, ” A Christian politician cannot leave his conscience outside the door when he enters parliament.”
Back in December, Malta’s Parliament voted unanimously to ban ex-gay torture, the first country in the world to do so.
Around 90% of Malta’s half-million residents are Catholic and Catholicism is nominally the official state religion, per their constitution.