The Prime Minister of Malta has sent a strong message in support of the country’s upcoming civil partnership legislation by saying “I will not budge on the matter.”

A bill to introduce civil unions for gay couples in Malta began being debated in the country’s Parliament back in October.

Malta’s Equality Minister Helena Dalli told a press conference on Monday that the Civil Unions Bill will recognise same-sex partnerships and give them the same rights and duties as married heterosexual couples – including the right to adopt children.

This week the Prime Minister Dr Joseph Muscat, responded to a speech on civil unions by the leader of the Nationalist Party, saying that there may be a compromise on the details of the bill, he would not stop supporting the principles behind it.

He said: “This is about the principle of equality. I will not budge on the matter, even if I end up being the only one beleiving  in it.”

“We can compromise on certain details but we cannot compromise on principles. If we did that we would be undermining the fundamental value of equality. I will not be part of that.”

“Unlike the PN, we were always consistent. The PN leader is trying to keep his party united on the subject. He is struggling to keep everyone on board because there is no single line of thought within the party.”

Speaking of adoption, Dr Muscat said that the bill would not automatically grant any couple the right to adopt, but would allow same-sex couples to honestly apply to be adoptive parents.

“Same sex couples are already adopting children unofficially. Is this the way the PN wants to protect children’s rights? By making their parents lie to the system?”

He also criticised the party leader for wanting to call a study  “What are you worried about? I don’t think that any dangers to adopted children would be linked to the sexual orientation of the parents.”