[JURIST] Malta's Parliament [official website] approved [press release] a bill legalizing same-sex marriage on Wednesday, making it the fifteenth country in the EU and the twenty-fifth country in the world to do so. The bill, in making marriage "fully gender neutral" also allows same-sex couples to "adopt or take on their partner's surname without distinction." Malta had only legalized [WP report] divorce in 2011. Previously one of the EU's more conservative countries, Malta has been moving in a more liberal direction after the election of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat [official profile].
LGBTQ+ rights and anti-homosexuality laws have been a matter of international controversy for decades, and have been receiving increasing attention and scrutiny in the past few years. Earlier this week the UK Supreme Court awarded [JURIST report] equal pension rights to same-sex spouses. Earlier in July the New Zealand Parliament formally apologized [JURIST report] to the hundreds of men who were criminally convicted under antiquated anti-homosexuality laws. Also in July a Chinese court has ordered a mental hospital to issue a public apology and pay compensation [JURIST report] to a 38-year-old man after forcing him to undergo conversion therapy. In June the lower house of the German Parliament voted [JURIST report] 393-226 to legalize same-sex marriage. In April Nigeria prosecutors in Kaduna charged [JURIST report] 53 men for celebrating an LGBTQ wedding in violation of the state's law against 'unlawful assembly' and the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act. A day earlier Human Rights Watch and other advocacy groups had urged [JURIST report] UN Secretary General António Guterres to investigate alleged abuse against LGBT people in Chechnya.