07 June 2011

Malta's Referendum on Liberalising Divorce Laws

  • Malta Reacts to Historic Vote to Introduce Divorce, by Mario Cacciottolo (BBC News, 29 May 2011)

    Malta's history has begun a new chapter after its citizens voted to introduce divorce to the island. Apart from a brief period when the island fell under Napoleon's rule for about two years, divorce has never existed legally there. The referendum outcome, its repercussions for society and the message sent to the island's Catholic Church authorities make the result as significant a moment as when Malta joined the European Union in 2004.

  • Malta's Bitter Divorce Debate Comes to a Head, by Peter Popham (The Independent [UK], 29 May 2011)

    Malta, the world's last bastion of Catholic domination outside the Vatican, is today riven by bitter hostility as it awaits the results of a fiercely contested referendum on divorce. The crowded little archipelago halfway across the Mediterranean was left as the last European country to forbid divorce when the Irish Republic reformed its marriage law in 1995; today it is the last in the world except for the Philippines. Divorce has been a burning issue on Malta for decades. Supporters of reform say that 30 per cent of marriages in the country end in separation, and that great and unnecessary suffering is caused when couples are unable to marry again because their previous, failed marriages cannot be dissolved. Nearly one-third of children are born out of wedlock.