Aug 102012

The PN parliamentary group was convened yesterday to discuss a draft Bill on cohabitation which also makes some kind of provision for gay partnerships.

The meeting saw Justice Minister Chris Said give a presentation on the proposed law at Castille in the evening.

Some MPs present voiced concerns that the proposals did not go far enough, sources told The Times. However, they still include the regulation of gay partnerships, although details remain unclear.

Consultation on the Bill was one of the issues on which Nationalist MP Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando made his support for the government conditional after he resigned from the party last month.

Contacted yesterday, Dr Pullicino Orlando, who is getting married for the second time this week, said he was invited to attend a meeting on the matter but could not make it in the circumstances.

He said he was given a briefing on the phone by Justice Minister Chris Said and plans to meet the Prime Minister for a more detailed discussion next week.

He would not be drawn to comment on the details, saying that he would have to look more closely at the proposal before making comments.

So far the government appears to have overcome the first hurdle regarding a similar red line Dr Pullicino Orlando placed underneath the Bill regulating in-vitro fertilisation. The Żebbuġ MP had said he is “by and large” in agreement with the draft Bill presented to him.

The issue of cohabitation has been on the agenda of the Nationalist Party for years, having first been introduced in an electoral manifesto in 1998. The aim is to regulate people living together such as unmarried couples and siblings.

Mark Micallef