Movement formed to fight divorce
A “pro-marriage” movement opposing the introduction of divorce has been set up and is being launched today. .
Żwieġ Bla Divorzju (marriage without divorce) member André J. Camilleri said the group’s main objective was to raise awareness on divorce and its negative impact on society, now that divorce was high on the national agenda.
“We now know what the issue is, it’s even tabled in Parliament,” Dr Camilleri said. “This is our way of voicing what we feel on this issue.”
The movement is composed of individuals from “very diverse” background, ranging from young university students and their lecturers to married people and people who experienced marital breakdown.
“The idea is that through this diversity, the movement will see its message being carried through to all spheres of society”.
A united anti-divorce front has been conspicuous by its absence since the raging debate was ignited in July, when Nationalist MP Jeffrey Pullicino tabled a Private Member’s Bill calling for the introduction of divorce, based on the Irish model.
Until very recently, the divorce debate had mostly been carried out by individuals rather than organisations, with the exception of the Catholic Church and Alternattiva Demokratika, both of which had made their positions on the subject clear.
However, with the possibility of a referendum looming on the horizon, this changed when in November, Dr Pullicino Orlando joined forces with Labour MP Evarist Bartolo and AD leader Michael Briguglio to form an official pro-divorce movement.
A month later, the two MPs tabled a joint Bill calling for the introduction of divorce, this time with amendments which they said better reflected Maltese legislation.
At about the same time, the anti-divorce camp was stirred into action and the idea of an awareness campaign finally “gelled”, Dr Camilleri said. Even though the Church has been vociferous in its opposition to divorce it had decided not to launch a centralised campaign, leaving a void where a strong antidivorce front could have stood.
The new movement, stepping in to fill this gap, is however “not religiously motivated”, Dr Camilleri said. “The idea is that whoever has an interest which matches ours is most welcome.”
To back its awareness campaign, the new movement is expected to launch studies and research conducted locally in the last four or five months, as well as experiences and studies from overseas. “It’s a pool of knowledge one should definitely not ignore.”
The movement, according to Dr Camilleri, will cease to exist once a decision is taken.
“What we’re saying is we’ll respect any decision that is taken by this country but the least we would expect is that before you take a decision, be it the large institutions or individual citizens, please be informed – know what the impact is.”