- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 12, 2017

VALLETTA, Malta (AP) — Lawmakers in the predominantly Catholic island nation of Malta have voted to legalize same-sex marriages.

Malta joined much of Western Europe on Wednesday when its parliament approved legislation eliminating the traditional “you are now husband and wife” declaration in civil ceremonies and replacing it with “you are now spouses.”

The vote was 66-1, with the sole lawmaker who voted against the change citing his Christian faith.

The Catholic Church had opposed the legislation, which the Labor government promised to introduce as its first law after winning a second term last month and which the main opposition party supported.

The aim of the law, piloted by Equality Minister Helena Dalli, is to “modernize the institution of marriage” to give all consenting adult couples the right to marry.

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