First Gay Marriage Registered in Malta
    2014-06-17 23:22:34     Xinhua       Web Editor: Fei

Malta's first gay couple registered their union last Friday, Malta's newspaper Independent reported on Tuesday.

In a ceremony held in the archipelago's second largest island Gozo, Kristina Galea Cavallazzi and Clara Borg became the first gay couple to vow mutual respect and pledge to take care of each other as a married couple in the presence of family and friends.

The civil union rite was also followed by a reception at a local Hotel.

In Malta, Gay couples apply for their civil unions and banns just like what happens in a marriage between heterosexual couples. Banns have to be published at least six weeks prior to the ceremony.

Once a couple formally applies for civil union, a procedure starts with the banns being published. In the case of Maltese citizens, only ID Cards of both partners are required. As regards foreigners, a birth certificate and a free status certificate is required. These both have to be legalized. The couple has to wait for a period of six weeks from the publication of banns.

First introduced to the parliament last October, the stalled civil unions bill was finally signed by Malta's President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca into law in mid-April. The majority ruling Labor Party pushed the bill through, in a vote of 37 Yes, 0 No, and 30 abstained. About 80 percent of Maltese were said to oppose the law's provisions, according to a Eurostat poll and a Church survey quoted by media reports in the staunchly Catholic country.

In the European Union, 22 member countries now have some form of civil union law or gay marriage bill and 10 have legalized adoptions by gay couples, according to official EU statistics.

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