Civil code amendment allows minors to be gender-neutral

Array of options when choosing family surname

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

In a statement, Parliamentary Secretaries Alex Muscat and Rosianne Cutajar announced that in the coming days, amendments to the Civil Code will be implemented, introducing marriage equality and addressing other issues dealing with marriage.

Cutajar said that this bill clarifies that minors also have the right to determine for themselves the gender they wish to identify with. 

“We are confirming that in the birth certificate itself, the parents can choose not to declare the sex of the baby so that when the child grows up, it will be up to them to determine their identity,” Cutajar insisted.

Array of options when choosing family surname

With the amendments tabled to the Civil Code, Muscat explained that couples will have all possible options when it comes to choosing a surname after marriage.

In addition to the spouses being able to choose to keep their surname or take the other party’s surname and drop theirs, they can now add the other party’s surname to theirs and in whatever order they want without imposing the other side to do the same. Despite this flexibility, the couple must agree on the family surname that they will eventually pass on to their children. 

In case the spouses choose to have the same surname, the future children must have the same surname of the choice of the parents. In the event that the person to be married is divorced or widowed, they can also choose to retain the surname of the previous marriage.

Muscat explained that these amendments will apply retrospectively and all married couples will have the opportunity to change their surname in the next five years in line with the new amendments. Such changes may be made at the request of the Director of the Public Registry instead of the Civil Court. That way, the process is believed to be faster and less costly.