Monday, 14 April 2014, 19:47, UPDATE 2
Gays and lesbians are gathering in St George's Square in Valletta as Parliament is to vote in favour of civil unions and gay adoptions.
The law will grant “marriage” rights to gay couples, including the possibility to adopt children.
The celebration has attracted hundreds of people who are expected to party until late in the evening for what the LGBT movement is describing as a historic day for the rights of minorities.
The party went into full swing as soon as Parliament voted in favour of the bill. There was cheering when government MPs, including Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, emerged from the House of Representatives, while the Opposition MPs who abstained were booed. Shouts of "Joseph, Joseph" reverberated across the whole square.
The facade of the palace was lit in Rainbow colours, the symbol of the gay community.
Ray Calleja, Chiara, Glen Vella, Amber, Roger Tirazona, Davinia and Muxu will form part of the entertainment team and celebrations will also be streamed online. There are also rumours that some might finally be popping the question to their partners during tonight’s events. Participants are invited to dress up formally in wedding attire, whether as the bride, the groom, or a wedding guest.
It is estimated that around 500-1,000 people will attend, an attendance much larger than that at the annual gay pride. The event is being hosted by MGRM, in collaboration with WE ARE (The University of Malta LGBT Society).
The Malta Independent spoke to a number of individuals, who expressed their feelings on this day.
Glen Vella, who represented Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2011, will be entertaining the crowd at tonight’s events. “This is not a political issue, but a human right. This is a historical milestone for the Maltese community; a maturity step rather. Anyone who believes in human rights should be celebrating with us tonight, whatever political party or sexual orientation. This is a national event.”
David & Alex, who have been together for 14 years, also had their say. ”Today is a very special day; finally everyone will be recognized as equal. This doesn’t mean that every couple will now get married, because ultimately it is a responsibility. With regard to adoption, we wish the public would stop such stereotypes that we will be sending our children off to ballet, dress them up in tutus etc. Not everyone is fit to be a parent, and not everyone has the wish to adopt either, but like everyone else, they should have the right to apply.”
“This is the result of long hours of work and consultations. Equality has taken a huge step forward. “says Paul Caruana Turner, We Are’s vice president. “Today I feel I belong to society more. By all means, this is not the end of the race. Much more needs to be done, for instance in the case of the gender identity bill; in the education sector, and gender re-assignment surgery procedures”