Malta Prime Minister Joseph Muscat this
week said that the time has come for a national debate on whether to
allow gay and lesbian couples to marry.
The Labour government has introduced
legislation that would recognize gay couples with civil unions.
According to Malta
Today, Muscat responded “why not?” when asked about the
issue of marriage during a luncheon he was addressing.
“Although some people might think
that the public isn't ready for gay marriage, I think that the
country requires leadership,” Muscat said. “We must continuously
keep looking forward.”
Simon Busuttil, who heads the
Nationalist Party, called the move from civil unions to marriage “a
non-issue” since “the civil unions legislation already gives
[gay] couples the same rights and duties as those invoked by civil
Gabi Calleja, coordinator of the Malta
Gay Rights Movement (MGRM), called on parliamentarians to put forward
a marriage bill “without delay.”
“Given that there seems to be
consensus on the issue, MGRM urges for a bill to be put forward
opening up marriage to all couples irrespective of gender without
delay,” Calleja said.