MPs HAVE concluded discussions on the civil cohabitation bill and plan to table it to the plenum on Thursday, chairman of the House interior committee Yiannos Lamaris said on Monday.
The joint interior and legal affairs committees had been trying to finalise the bill for months without success but Lamaris said they were close enough in achieving a draft that both “ensures the rights of those who choose civil habitation and reassures the concerns of society, and some of my fellow deputies, regarding adoptions and gay marriage”, he said. Amendments can however be still tabled during the plenum debate.
Last week MPs decided to rename the bill civil habitation instead of ‘civil partnerships’ to better reflect the fact that it is not an agreement whose terms were decided by the partners themselves but a state of affairs regulated by law. It was also decided last week to set up a technical committee to iron out the remaining issues and to help avoid continued political grandstanding in the committee by those MPs opposed to the bill, which had caused the numerous delays. Having done this, the bill was returned to the joint committee on Monday to be finalised.
Accept-LGBT Cyprus has accused a number of MPs of trying to drag out parliamentary discussions on the bill for as long as possible in order to delay putting it to the vote.
It said a case in point was DISY MP Andreas Themistocleous, who requested the intervention of the Commissioner for Rights of the Children, Leda Koursoumba at a recent meeting “but then chose to completely ignore her position as it was bringing down his own views”.
Themistocleous had also tried to browbeat an official from the legal service to concede that that the civil partnerships essentially equated to gay marriage, Accept said.