Saturday, 25 August 2012

Independent: Coalition talks on gay and cohabitation rights
18 August 2012

Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, who went into coalition with the Nationalist government on condition that the Prime Minister would consult him on proposals which were not on the PN electoral programme, yesterday had a meeting with Justice Minister Chris Said, to discuss the Cohabitation Bill.

He said in a statement yesterday that he was asked by the Prime Minister on 8 August to meet Dr Said to discuss the bill, which was due to be published imminently. The delay in holding the meeting was due to personal commitments on both his and Dr Said’s part.

He said they already discussed a number of points over the telphone on the 9th, before the PN Parliamentary Group met to discuss the subject that day. “Issues I raised with Minister Said with regard to the rights of gay couples were put forward and approved during that meeting. A number of other points related to the rights of cohabiting couples in general and gay couples in particular were discussed during the meeting. I found Minister Said to be very receptive to the issues raised. This should help make the bill more relevant to the realities of Maltese society today’. I held discussions about this subject with Minister Said before the summer recess.”

The statement was issued with Dr Said’s concurrence. The minister assured the MP that the bill would be placed on the parliamentary agenda, together with the Embryo Protection Bill, as soon as parliament reconvenes in October. “It is to be given the priority it deserves. I have stated, publicly, that I consider an IVF bill guaranteeing the full protection of human embryos and a cohabitation bill which gives due consideration to the rights of gay couples to be priorities when it comes to the issues Parliament should deal with as soon as we reconvene. I am satisfied that both these issues are being treated with the urgency they deserve by the Nationalist government,” he said, adding he reserved the right to present amendments to both bills, when the government presents them in their final version.

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