MALTA — Last month, Malta’s parliament voted overwhelmingly to advance a marriage equality bill after the third and final debate on the issue. Malta will become the 23rd country with marriage equality and gay couples can start marrying as of next Friday, when all provisions of the amended Marriage law come into force.

The Times of Malta reported that Parliament approved by an overwhelming majority the changes proposed by the government to the Marriage Act, which replaced references to a mother or father with ‘parent’ and a husband or wife with ‘spouse’.

Nationalist MP Edwin Vassallo was the only dissenting voice, voting against the law and ignoring the party whip.

The government had rejected amendments put forward by the PN to include the gender-neutral terminology alongside references to a mother, father, husband or wife. But the PN parliamentary group still voted in favor of the gender-neutral law to fulfill its own electoral pledge.

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