Gay couples can start marrying as of next Friday, when all provisions of the amended Marriage law come into force.

Equality Minister Helena Dalli signed off on the legal notice published in the Government Gazzette last Friday.

Changes to the law were enacted by Parliament last July before the summer recess, making the law gender-neutral and opening marriage to same-sex couples.

It was the first law moved by the Labour administration after the June election and fulfilled an electoral pledge.

President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca signed the new law on August 1, giving the LGBTIQ community additional cause to celebrate during the Gay Pride festivities to be held on September 9.

READ: So what's this marriage equality bill all about?

Parliament approved by an overwhelming majority the changes proposed by the government to the Marriage Act, which replaced references to a mother or father with ‘parent’ and a husband or wife with ‘spouse’.

Nationalist  MP Edwin Vassallo was the only dissenting voice, voting against the law and ignoring the party whip.

The government had rejected amendments put forward by the PN to include the gender-neutral terminology alongside references to a mother, father, husband or wife. But the PN parliamentary group still voted in favour of the gender-neutral law to fulfil its own electoral pledge.

But even as the new law comes into force, at least one PN leadership contender, Chris Said, has vowed to reintroduce the words ‘mother’, ‘father’, ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ in the law if the Nationalist Party is elected to government under his stewardship.

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