PM tells executive that he is against divorce but PN executive agree to discuss further

What is best described as a positive and constructive meeting characterised the PN executive that met yesterday night to discuss divorce.  The meeting also met to debate a pensions presentation by David Spiteri Gingell.

Yet, it was the presentation by backbencher Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando that was most awaited. The proponent of divorce was keenly listened to by a well attended meeting, which insiders described as thoughtful and mature.  Malta is the only state and only EU member not to have divorce. The meeting started with a hand on heart declaration by the Prime Minister that he was against divorce.

Nonetheless the majority of those present agreed to discuss further and to look into the realities facing Maltese society.  Indeed the meeting agreed to gather all necessary data on separated and cohabiting partners. The meeting was well attended by members of parliament.

The fact that the debate on divorce is taking place within the Nationalist party is indicative of the changing times. Traditionally pro-Catholic church, the PN was taken unawares by the sudden declaration weeks ago by Pullicino Orlando who moved a private members' bill to introduce divorce. 

The Church has been cautious in its attack on the PN and faces a quandary whether to launch a salvo against the PN and those who favour divorce. Labour leader Joseph Muscat has said that he will allow for a free vote for divorce, but Pullicino Orlando's private members' bill has taken the wind out of his sails - at least for the moment.

A poll carried out by the reliable MaltaToday survey confirm that the majority of Maltese are in favour of divorce, yet the majority prefer that the decision to introduce divorce is taken by means of  a referendum.

"...the meeting agreed to gather all necessary data on separated and cohabiting partners" They have already started off on the wrong foot. The so-called "data" can only be an imprecise statistic. There are many who live under the same roof but living apart - this will not appear in any statistical data. Divorce is a right and rights are independent of data. It seems to me that the persons present in this meeting are still hesitant, afraid, vacillating, not to say.... spineless. All these are delaying tactics. The PM's reported declared position has the merit of clarity: he is against divorce. This raises the question: does a legislator enact laws on the basis of his own personal beliefs or on the basis of what is a right and what is not? Personal preferences and religious beliefs should not come into the equation. It is the interest of citizens that counts. Divorce is a right which all the world enjoys. MP's are not elected to do us a favour and enact divorce as a small mercy. It is their duty to guarantee our rights and they are being paid for it. They are our representatives not our masters. Divorce will remian a right independently of whether a divorce law is enacted or not. If such a law is not enacted, it will mean that a right exists but is being denied to the Maltese population. If the personal beliefs of a MP, irrespectively of whichever side of the House she/he sits on, preclude him/her from voting in favour of the enactment of a law recognizing and guaranteeing a right, then there is one option left: resignation. It would be the same in the purely hypothetical case of a divorce bill being passed by the House and the President not agreeing with it. The options are two: either assent to the approved bill in spite of his/her personal beliefs or resign.