19.5.2011 by Chiara Bonello
Divorce is not a civil right, if it were somebody would have taken a case to court or the European Court of Human Rights before this, Nationalist MP Charlo Bonnici said yesterday.
Speaking at a seminar organised by the anti-divorce movement, Moviment Żwieġ Bla Divorzju, Mr Bonnici said that in the ECHR case of Ray Johnson vs. Ireland it was ruled that marriage, and not divorce, is a right.
He went on to say that the introduction of divorce will affect children, weaken the institution of marriage, and create a problem as it can mean two families will be dependent on one man’s wages.
Dun Ang Seychell referred to a case last Sunday when another priest celebrated one of Fr Seychell’s two Masses that day in Zejtun, and told the people not to be ‘Pulċinelli’.
He said that although he though this unethical, it did not go down well with the congregation who thought they were being insulted and left. The priest was however alluding to the surname of divorce proponent Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando.
Fr Seychell also said that if arguments are based on the fact that divorce exists in other countries, then we can expect a series of other campaigns to follow, for abortion, euthanasia and same sex marriages.
If, God willing, the no-vote resounds on 28 May, nobody should imagine it is over, but only that part two to strengthen families, must continue, Fr Seychell said.
“It is said that with divorce problems will increase, and I agree, but the truth is either way problems remain a reality,” Labour MP Carmelo Abela said, adding that this is where the parliamentary committee on family affairs comes in.
The motion for the set up of this committee is based on the fact that “we must accept that families go through problems and want to send the message that it will be focusing on family issues and how it can help,” he said.
Those who claim divorce is something private and personal, that it is just a certificate of a marriage which is over, are wrong, medical doctor Anna Vella said, adding that the movement believes it is something contagious.
With the introduction of divorce, she said, research has shown a ‘divorcist’-mentality will emerge. The tendency to ask oneself why they should work at a marriage will increase, she said.
It is untrue to say it will only affect those who want it; it will be imposed on children, who will enter into a marriage which is a ‘worthless union’.
The pro-divorce movement has often said divorce is not a solution, Dr Vella said, suggesting therefore that measures are taken for stronger families.
Nationalist MP Edwin Vassallo said he could not understand why teachers had not spoken in this debate, when they knew the reality of impact on the behaviour of children better than most.
This was echoed by Labour MP Marie Louise Coleiro Preca and former Children’s Commissioner Sonia Camilleri, who said that the majority of cases she had seen were the result of family problems and a parent introducing a new partner.