The Prime Minister of Malta has come out in favour of equal marriage.

The once-conservative country has made a raft of changes on LGBT rights, knocking the UK off the #1 ranking in Europe on the issue last year.

As part of the government’s reforming agenda, Malta has introduced LGBT-inclusive education, passed same-sex civil unions, and pushed through progressive gender laws – even become the first country to outlaw surgery on intersex babies,

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However, the country’s PM has signalled that he now wants to finally introduce same-sex marriage, according to the Times of Malta.

Speaking at an event marking Women’s Day, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said: “I am in favour of gay marriage and the country is ready for a debate about it.”

He added that “strong leadership” would be needed to push through reform on the issue, potentially leading public opinion rather than following.

The country is currently also preparing measures to outlaw ‘gay cure’ therapy.

Speaking to supporters recently, Muscat said he wanted to cement that sexual orientation is not a condition to be “cured”.

Muscat said: “You turn to Malta and find homosexuality being treated as a condition.

“I will defend the Church’s right to express its position; but I’m also free to say that this government will keep moving forward with its plans.

“We strongly believe in the progress we are making… it’s not a question of imitating other countries but because I will never accept a mentality that harms gay people.”