Updated: Tuesday, 15 April 2014 06:17 | By Agence France-Presse

Malta legalises gay civil unions, adoption

Malta's parliament passed a law Monday legalising same-sex civil partnerships and giving gay couples the right to adopt.

Malta legalises gay civil unions, adoption

People celebrate in Saint George's Square after the Maltese parliament approved a civil unions bill in Valletta on April 14, 2014 - by Matthew Mirabelli

The Mediterranean island country's parliament passed the bill by a vote of 37-0.

The opposition abstained because it opposes gay adoption but not gay unions, said its leader Simon Busuttil.

Thousands of supporters cheered the law's passage on the central square in the capital Valletta.

Catholicism is the state religion in Malta, the European Union's smallest member state.

According to the International Lesbian and Gay Association, which welcomed the new law, Malta is the 22nd European country to recognise same-sex unions and the 10th to allow such couples to adopt.

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