Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Independent: Malta marks divorce referendum anniversary 
Article published on 27 May 2012

Tomorrow, Malta marks the first anniversary of the historic 28 May 2011 Divorce Referendum, which saw the ‘Yes’ camp emerging victorious by a six point margin after a hard-fought five-week campaign for the introduction of divorce.

Since then, in the last year close to 500 divorce applications have been filed before the courts, and around half of those have been granted.

Tomorrow will see a reunion of the three people who drove the ‘Yes’ campaign to victory – Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, Evarist Bartolo and Deborah Schembri at a press conference being convened to mark the date, in which they are expected to compare and contrast what had been claimed during the gloves-off campaign with what has really happened since then.

AD Chairperson Michael Briguglio was also a co-founder of the ‘Yes’ movement.
Since last May’s referendum, Nationalist MP Dr Pullicino Orlando has called it a day and has said he will not seek re-election to the next legislature, Mr Bartolo has stayed on as one of the Labour Party’s chief shadow ministers, and Dr Schembri has made it known that she will run for election on the Labour Party ticket in the next general election.

AD ‘proud to have set the ball rolling’

At a press conference held yesterday before the Law Courts, Green party Alternattiva Demokratika said that it was “proud to have set the ball rolling for the introduction of divorce”.

AD Chairperson Michael Briguglio said, “AD had been speaking for the introduction of divorce since 1989, and two years ago it decided to take direct action by inviting Members of Parliament to take a stand on divorce. We wrote to all members of parliament and sent them the Irish and Italian divorce laws as models to follow. This eventually led to the formation of the ‘Yes’ movement which successfully lobbied for a ‘yes’ vote.

“As the only political party with a clear stand in favour of the introduction of divorce, AD is proud to have been on the right side of history and of speaking up for the introduction of this basic civil right. AD therefore has a positive impact for progressive changes in Malta, even though it is not yet in Parliament. Just imagine how more influential AD will be as a parliamentary force.

“Progressive voters should keep in mind that Lawrence Gonzi voted against divorce while Joseph Muscat lacked the courage to commit his party on such a vital issue.”

Angele Deguara, AD’s spokesperson for Social Policy and Civil Rights, added, “AD is proud to have had such a crucial role in the process which led to the introduction of divorce legislation last year. This law is important for Maltese couples, like couples in other parts of the world, to be able to regularise their relationship and to remarry if they so wish.

“AD gives a lot of importance to civil rights issues and it will continue working and expressing its concerns so that other social categories such as LGBT persons will not continue to be denied civil rights the government has been promising to address without taking any concrete action. AD believes that social policy and civil law should not reflect one family type but should address today’s social realities.”

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