Malta develops gender neutral language for marriage laws

Malta might be the next country to bring in marriage equality after the country’s government brought forward legislation to removed gender language from their marriage laws.

The draft law would abolish gendered terms such as “husband”, “wife”, “mother” and “father” from the country’s Marriage Act and other laws and replace them with gender-neutral terminology. THe move has the support of the centre-right opposition Nationalist party.

Same-sex couples would also win the right to adopt children if the proposed laws are introduced.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, who leads the Labour Party told the BBC that his government wanted to be leading the world in the area of civil liberties.

“Malta wants to keep leading on LGBT issues and civil liberties, to serve as a model for the rest of the world,” Muscat said.

The proposed removal of gendered terms from the law has been criticised by religious groups in the predominately Catholic country, while one opposition MP has declared it will lead to end of people using words like “Mum” and “Dad”.

David Agius from the Nationalist party asked; “From now on, you cannot call your parents ‘mum’ or ‘dad’ because it is not in the law. Will we be celebrating ‘person who gave birth today’ instead of Mother’s Day?”

Some MPs have suggested that new words need to be created to allow same sex couples the right to wed, but this option has been ruled out by the country’s Equality Minister, Helena Dalli, who argued that“introducing some form of new terminology is not equality”.

If the new laws pass in Malta they will join Taiwan and Germany who have also recently moved to embrace marriage equality.

OIP Staff

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