Malta votes in favour of same-sex marriage

Just one member of parliament voted against the move

Malta votes in favour of same-sex marriage

Maltese Prime Minister's office is lit up in rainbow colours with fireworks exploding after parliament voted in favour of same-sex marriage in Valletta | Image: Mark Zammit Cordina/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

The Maltese parliament has voted in favour of marriage equality.

The country's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat says it shows Malta has reached an unprecedented level of maturity.

"I think it's a historic vote, it shows that our democracy and our society... has reached an unprecedented level of maturity - and a society where we can all say we're equal."

It is the 15th European Union member state to allow same sex marriage, just six years after it allowed divorce.

Just one member of parliament, Edwin Vassallo, voted against the move.

People wave a rainbow flag after parliament voted in favor of same-sex marriage in Valletta, capital of Malta | Image: Mark Zammit Cordina/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

Leader of the opposition Nationalist Party, Simon Busuttil, tweeted: "By voting in favour in tonight's vote on #MarriageEquality @PNmalta was on the right side of history."

The government there said that the aim of the law was to modernise marriage law through the mainstreaming of equality for all.

The change means that the country's definition of marriage is now gender neutral.

It removed references to 'husband' and 'wife' and replaced them with 'spouse'.

Last month, the German parliament voted to legalise gay marriage by 393 votes to 226.