MALTA has voted to legalise same-sex marriage in parliament, with only one of the country’s 67 parliamentarians voting against the amendment.

The country’s marriage act will be changed to replace words such as “husband” and “wife” with the gender-neutral “spouse”.

The words “mother” and “father” will also be replaced with “parent who gave birth” and “parent who did not give birth”.

In a report by the BBC, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said it was a historic vote.

“This shows that our democracy and society have reached a level of maturity and we can now say that we are equal,” he said.

Equality advocates in Australia have welcomed the news, saying the recent change in Malta helps to highlight how straightforward achieving marriage equality can be.

“If marriage equality can occur in Catholic Malta, Australia has no excuses,” said just.equal spokesperson Rodney Croome.

“The lesson for Australia from Malta, and from Germany a few days ago, is that marriage equality can be achieved through parliament without the need for a costly and divisive plebiscite.”

Malta has become the 15th nation in the EU and the 25th in the world to allow same-sex couples to marry.

It comes just weeks after Taiwan and Germany legalised same-sex marriage.

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