Malta’s Prime Minister pledges to pass equal marriage

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Malta’s re-elected Prime Minister has pledged his first law will bring in equal marriage.

Muscat’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has pioneered many of the country’s pioneering LGBT rights reforms, which have seen the traditionally-conservative island nation become one of the most progressive in Europe for LGBT people.

The Labour politician was sworn back in today, after winning a slightly increased majority in the country’s general election over the weekend.

The leader vowed to follow through on his pledge to reform marriage laws to include same-sex couples, furthering reforms made in 2014 which opened civil unions to same-sex couples.

Mr Muscat said the equal marriage law would be the new government’s first piece of legislation, pledging progress on the issue before the summer recess.

It would follow a string of reforms in recent years.

Under Muscat’s leadership, Malta has outlawed ‘gay cure’ therapy and passed progressive reforms for transgender and intersex people.

The PM has urged other Commonwealth countries to follow Malta’s example and throw out their archaic Colonial-era anti-LGBT laws.

Speaking about the need for tolerance at a Commonwealth event, Mr Muscat said: “I want to single out the respect for LGBTIQ persons, the lack of it.

“The remarkable number of our countries [with anti-LGBT laws] is, arguably, a considerable blot on our family of nations’ standing.

“I had conversations and am aware that there are leaders who know that things must change, but are wary of how society will react to their first move.

“To them, I said and I say, that the Commonwealth will be with them to help make their first steps. History, I am sure, will judge them positively when they do so.”

He also issued a warning that “individuals who do not value the dignity of others… stand to fuse into multitudes that make up the mass base of extremist movements”.

In an interview, Ms Muscat elaborated on his comments.

He said: “There is a lot to be done… there are some countries where respect of minorities is not on the level we would like it to be.

“The key is engagement, and understanding, and trying to show that if you do the right thing, it’s never too late.”