Forms of legal recognition
There are three forms of legal recognition for gay couples that include: marriage equality, registered partnerships and cohabitation.
About 33 per cent of EU member states recognise some form of registered or civil partnership, 26 per cent grant basic cohabitation rights, 13 per cent recognise full marriage equality and 28 per cent have no form of legal recognition. Malta falls under the last category together with Italy, Greece and Turkey, among others.
Marriage equality is the highest form of recognition but is still the least popular in Europe where only seven countries (Belgium, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden) allow it. Registered partnerships are widely adopted in Europe. They are allowed in the UK, Ireland, France and Germany, among others. This type of partnership recognises the kind of relationship between the couple and grants them various grades of rights depending on the jurisdiction in the particular country.
Rights can include inheritance and property entitlement. However, this partnership falls short of the full package that comes with marriage. Cohabitation is at the lower end of the scale. Although it recognises that the couple live together, as do siblings, it does not recognise their relationship.