As of today, 1st September 2017, civil marriage is open to same sex couples.
This is a result of the Marriage Act and other Laws (Amendment) Act, which passed through Parliament on the 12th July 2017 and was published in the Government Gazzette on the 28th August following the President of Malta’s assent.
This was the first law which the new Government moved in Parliament during this legislature, showing the strong commitment towards civil liberties and equality and making Malta the 25th country in the world, and the 15th in Europe, to introduce such a law.
The institution of marriage is now fully gender neutral to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, and genderqueer (LGBTIQ) persons are free to contract a marriage with their loved ones, be they of the same or a different sex.
Minister for European Affairs and Equality Helena Dalli, described the Marriage Equality Act as another step towards having more equality in our society- a building block with which the government continues to eliminate discrimination, which usually stems from social prejudice. Dr. Dalli held that this law, which modernizes marriage law, will make the Maltese society a more inclusive one where everyone enjoys all rights and obligations.
By removing all discrepancies between husband and wife, couples contracting a civil marriage after 1st September, are free to adopt or take on their partner’s surname without distinction and to choose a family surname which all their children are to take.
Notwithstanding the introduction of the Marriage Equality Law, couples, irrespective of their sex, can still enter into a civil union. However, the 185 couples who have already entered a civil union, since its introduction, can opt to convert their civil union into marriage within five years from the coming into force of the Marriage Act i.e. till 2022. In this case the civil union shall end upon conversion, and the resulting marriage shall be deemed to have subsisted from the date when the civil union was formed. Moreover, couples who have already applied for a civil union may convert their application to one of civil marriage, without re-applying or changing their ceremony date.
The Act in full can be found here: http://www.justiceservices.gov.mt/DownloadDocument.aspx?app=lp&itemid=28609&l=1