Updated at 4.45pm
Gay marriage could soon be introduced in Malta as a Marriage Equality Bill is in the process of being drafted, Civil Liberties Minister Helena Dalli announced this afternoon.
Speaking during an event organised by the NGO Drachma, the minister said the Civil Union Law gave gay couples the same rights as heterosexual couples under a different name. The government was now also "changing this".
“You are not going to believe this but, just yesterday, I was revising a bill on marriage equality,” the minister said prompting a round of applause by those present.
“Our civil union law is already on a par with marriage. All the rights are there and it’s just different in name so we’re changing that. We’re working on it,” Dr Dalli said.
Same-sex unions were approved by Parliament in Malta on April 14, 2014. The Opposition had abstained.
Last year, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had said that he was in favour of gay marriage and believed it was time for the matter to be debated. The issue had been raised during an activity to mark Women’s Day on March 4.
At the time, Opposition leader Simon Busuttil had said that since the Civil Unions Act gave gays the same rights and obligations as those in a civil marriage, he could not see any difficulty in the name being changed to reflect what the union represented – a marriage.
The Opposition had however also criticised the government for bringing up a “non-issue” to deviate public attention from the Panama scandal that had only just erupted some weeks before.