‘One hopes that the paramount principle remains the best interest of the child and that exceptional cases do not ground general norms’, wrote Archbishop Charles J Scicluna in a post on Twitter, as he was referring to amendments to the Civil Code that would allow couples not to assign a gender to their child on birth. These have been approved by Parliament in its second reading.
The bill includes dozens of amendments, including one which would finally allow Maltese letters to be officially included in people’s names.
It also seeks to remove any distinction between genders when it comes to married couples choosing their surname: each spouse may choose to keep their surname, drop them in favour of their spouse’s surname or adopt a combination of both. Spouses may choose different surnames, though they would nevertheless have to agree on the surname that would be passed on to any eventual children they might have.
The bill was approved without a vote but amendments in the committee stage are expected, in light of various issues raised by Opposition MPs.