The Parliament of the Mediterranean nation of Malta will consider recognizing the relationships of gay and lesbian couples, Malta Today reported.

Lawmakers in Malta, which consists of three inhabited islands off the coast of Italy and 18 minor uninhabited islands, will discuss the proposal “shortly.”

“The bill on co-habitation in regards to same-sex unions will be discussed in Cabinet within the Parliament Group shortly,” justice minister Chris Said told the paper. “It will be presented to Parliament soon after.”

“Government's position is that the relationship between gay couples should be regulated by the law regulating cohabitation including the institute of civil partnership,” the minister added.

Malta achieved independence from the British Empire in 1964 and became a republic in 1974. The nation was admitted to the European Union in 2004.

A 2006 survey found that only 18 percent of respondents support legalizing gay marriage. However, a 2011 survey of university students found a majority (56.5%) in favor marriage equality.

Currently, the island nation does not recognize the relationships of gay couples.