LGBT rights groups in Europe have congratulated Malta over passing a law to allow civil unions and adoption for same-sex couples, forbidding discrimination under its constitution

On Monday this week, the Parliament of Malta voted to allow same-sex couples to enter civil unions and adopt children and amended its constitution to forbid discrimination against transgender people.

The civil unions legislation also ensures that same-sex marriages conducted abroad would be recognised.

The Civil Unions Act amended Maltese law, allowing same-sex couples to enter partnerships with rights and duties similar to marriage. Partners will be able to adopt children.

Claudette Abela Baldacchino MEP, a Maltese member of the LGBT Intergroup, said: “Introducing civil unions was an important step towards fully embracing true European values. This is not merely a question of minority rights, but an issue of what kind of society we want to live in.

“As an MEP, I believe respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms are the basis of any democracy. No country may call itself truly European unless it treats its citizens equally.”

MPs also voted to amend the Constitution, prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Malta is the first EU Member State to enshrine non-discrimination based on gender identity in its constitution.

The Civil Unions Act voted on Monday will also ensure that same-sex couples married or in a partnership from another country will see their union recognised in Malta.

Sophie in ‘t Veld MEP, Vice-President of the LGBT Intergroup, said: “I congratulate Malta for this very positive step. It’s particularly important that fellow lawmakers ensured unions conducted abroad would be recognised on Maltese soil.

“The European Commission will perhaps see that this issue is of crucial importance. In these five years, it breached its own promise to work towards the mutual recognition of the effects of civil status documents. Thankfully, some Member States stopped waiting.”