Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Di-ve: Parliament should debate divorce - AD

12.6.10; editorial@di-ve.com

In a press conference held in front of parliament, Alternattiva Demokratika, the Green Party, appealed to all parliamentarians to start debating divorce, especially since the social affairs committee is debating cohabitation.

AD announced that it wrote to the social affairs committee of its position. AD also submitted the legislation of 2 countries with a Catholic heritage, namely Ireland and Italy, which can be used as a starting point for the drafting of a law. The discussions on the introduction of divorce in Malta have now been going on for years.

Michael Briguglio, AD Chairperson, said that AD has always stressed upon the importance of legislation on registered partnerships and cohabitation. We are pleased that at last something is being done as regards to cohabitation. But such legislation will not compensate the lack of rights and legislation on other areas which concern basic rights of non-married couples- such as those concerning divorce, siblings living together and LGBT rights respectively'.

He added that it is very unfortunate that government's proposals on cohabitation are more of a political strategy to keep postponing essential reforms on other areas regarding the rights of different types of families and that the Nationalist parliamentary group is refusing to read the signs of the times, and is therefore burying its head in the sand on such important issues as divorce. Labour on the other hand, is adopting a 'catch-all' approach by trying to please everyone at the same time.

Yvonne Arqueros Ebejer, AD spokesperson for Civil Right said that despite the absence of divorce, separation is on the rise in Malta for various reasons, including economic stress and other situational factors, but also due to the fact that people give more value to being happy in their relationships. The introduction of divorce legislation will not cure all society's problems but will definitely put an end to the discriminatory state of affairs where only divorce obtained in another country is recognised.

AD has full appreciation of the Catholic Church's role as a legitimate and major voice in Malta's public sphere. The Church has every right to say it is against divorce and that its followers should abide by its teachings. But, here one must appreciate that in modern secular societies, where respect of civil rights take centre stage, being a Catholic is one identity among others. No one is obliged to divorce but the possibility of divorce should exist as a basic civil right'.

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