Through the enactment of the Civil Unions Act, same sex couples are free to contract civil union, which grants to those bound by the civil union all the rights enjoyed by couples who get married. The only significant difference between marriage and civil union is the name, i.e. that partners in a civil union cannot say that they are married, albeit enjoying all the rights enjoyed by married couples.
However gay persons should be not be prohibited from adopting children (see section on adoption) on the basis of their sexual orientation. Case law of the European Court of Human Rights has affirmed that gay persons should not be discriminated against in the course of adopting children (at least as they do so as a single parent). Gay persons who wish to adopt are advised to discuss this with a gay-rights lawyers for guidance before approaching the authorities concerned.
According to EU law marriages contracted in EU countries should be recognized throughout Europe, irrespective whether the relationship is heterosexual, transgendered or gay. Rights emanating from such a relationship should therefore be enforceable in Malta. So far we are not aware of any homosexual couple that has tried to have such a marriage recognized by Maltese public authorities. However we believe that it is only a matter of time before the first homosexual couple tries to recognize their union in Malta.