Malta set to give legal recognition to cohabiting same-sex couplesTop Highlights, Around the World Thursday, March 15th, 2012
VALETTA, Malta – The Maltese government is set to recognize gay couples by law and has stated that its cohabitation bill, first promised 14 years ago, will also legislate for civil partnerships.
The Times of Malta reported that a Justice Ministry spokesman said, in reply to questions put in the wake of an opinion piece in The Times penned by Nationalist backbencher Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando calling for gay marriage to be introduced, “The government’s stand is that the relationship between gay couples should be regulated through the law on cohabitation, including the institute of civil partnership.”
The cohabitation bill is meant to be unveiled before the Maltese parliament soon. The draft law will provide legal recognition to non-married cohabiting individuals.
It is currently unclear what rights and responsibilities the proposed civil partnership legislation would entail. Issues concerning child adoption, inheritance and pensions have all been recognized as contentious areas by commentators over the past few mo`nths.
The Times has reported that the Catholic Church (98 percent of Malta’s population is Roman Catholic), is adamantly against affording gay couples marriage rights or civil partnership. Pope Benedict XVI said earlier this year that any deviation from the traditional understanding of marriage would “threaten human dignity and the future of humanity itself”.
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