Divorce Referendum 2011 newsblog

MaltaToday's cheat sheet for divorce for the countdown to the 28 May referendum.

Send us your divorce alerts and pictures HERE and tweets HERE and you can see our photo-blog on Tumblr

Thursday, 26 May

TONIGHT: the final debate by the BA between Deborah Schembri and Arthur Galea Salomone


Quick catch-up on the latest divorce referendum news

15:06 Labour leader Joseph Muscat gets the vote out.

A must read: Caroline Muscat’s open letter to Joyce Cassar and Anna Vella of Cana movement, on their letter to women.

Deborah Schembri of Moviment Iva writes to women herself…

Religion in the divorce debate: Mystic Angelik says the Virgin Mary urges a no vote, while Kristu Iva, Divorzju Le says Jesus will be in the voting booth…

And the no debate says Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando’s ‘spiritual terrorism’ quip was “in bad taste”.

Wednesday, 25 May

17:20 From the No movement... numbers and accusations of a campaign of lies.

The Divorzistan Mullah's pastoral can be found here on the J'accuse blog...

13:43 Read the full foreign coverage on Malta's referendum in Malta Inside Out here.

12:00 The Electoral Commission refuses observer status to the European Greens at the referendum.

Tuesday, 24 May

15:33 University lecturer Mark Anthony Falzon's yes to divorce.

12:25 TONIGHT 6pm at The Palace Hotel in Sliema - the Today Debate on divorce.

12:20 Misquoted - how a divorce study in Australia was spun by the Nationalist party's Sunday paper.

10:30 The Divorzistan spoof billboards are here...

Monday, 23 May

18:17 Read this interesting insight from Alfred Sant about his meeting with a former Vatican secretary of state which touched upon the issue of marriages.

17:00 From Zwieg Bla Divorzju - divorce will allow parents to contest court prohibition of having their children in the company of their new spouses.

From Moviment IVA - anti-divorce lobby targeting women's fears.

10:00 Former Palermo priest Giovanni Avena holds talk today at 6:45pm. "Catholics don't commit a sin if they vote for divorce."

09:14  Some morning must-reads: the Catholic News Agency scaremongers with claims that divorce opens the road to Muslim extremism... but the Sunday Times editorial yesterday was, like MaltaToday's, a sincere call for popular change.

Also - Carmen Sammut's blog To hell with marriage?

Saturday, 21 May

17:23 Some comic relief from Divozistan on YouTube who run their own satirical 'jihad' on the divorce referendum campaign.

17:00 The anti-divorce youth hold a press conference.

16:00 Obviously, one of the most quetionable incidens throughout the divorce campaign - a PSD teacher asking 9-year-olds how they'd vote in a divorce referendum. The Ministry of Education has confirmed the incident - but it has left a bad taste with some parents.

11:34 Divorce referendum in the UK press on The Independent.

11:30 Mark Montebello breaks his silence on Church's stealth campaign in divorce.

08:43 Good morning, here's the quick catch-up:

Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando has been confronted by some previous opinions he penned expressing himself against divorce. Here's what he told MaltaToday about it yesterday.

The Xarabank survey, held in the second week of the campaign, puts undecided at 40%. Note: MaltaToday is out with an updated survey tomorrow.

Beppe Fenech Adami, the Nationalist MP, was instructed not to attend yesterday's Xarabank. Apparently something to do with his face...

The bishops could be preparing a recorded pastoral for tomorrow.

Friday, 20 May

18:25 Letter sent from Joseph Muscat to Labour party members.


14:11 German media reporting that Mgr. Anton Gouder is refusing to give further interviews to German crews after he 'disliked' DW News report.

14:08 With the referendum almost a week away, IVA movement calls for better marriage preparation by the State.

11:59 An answer to Le B'Rispett Ghall-Gejjieni's Irish future by Get Up Stand Up.

Good morning, check out this video-doc from Deutsche-Welle TV, called Malta: Divorced At Last

Thursday, 19 May

18:42 Discussion tomorrow on family and divorce at Dar l-Ewropa, Valletta hosted by Alternattiva Demokratika.

18:23 A new video from anti-divorce youths here, alerted to us by ivvotale who also pointed out this Irish referendum poster. Any likeness here...?

Here's the Le youths video, which features the handsomely photogenic Jean-Claude Micallef... with upturned polo-shirt.

17:37 TONIGHT: Zwieg bla Divozju's Arthur Galea Salomone in a BA debate interviewed by journalists. Of particular note: why is Andre Camilleri, the figurehead and chairperson of the anti-divorce movement, not appearing on these debates to take some important questions?

17:35 We've got a Top Ten of songs on break-ups and divorce! Any favourites?

13:20 Moviment Iva calls for a clear separation between Church and State, quoting Fr Charles Vella and Fr Rene Camilleri.

13:00 GRTU president says his association is neutral on divorce, but he makes it a point to say he is against.

12:00 Il-Mazzun's blog uploads a lot of statements from the divorce campaign.

11:40 Post-apocalyptic, post-referendarial prognosis by Jacques Rene Zammit in this must-read.

Wednesday, 18 May

16:55 From the university debate between the two sides, organised by Move students.

10:15 Read this story about a Zejtun priest who told his congregation they would not be eligible for Holy Communion if they voted for divorce.

09:18 Some morning tonic from the anti-divorce youth in this YouTube video here:

09:15 Good morning: Zwieg bla Divorzju today are organising a business breakfast (read coffee morning) for their activists at the San Gorg Corinthia. Here's a quick round-up:

Deborah Schembri yesterday fielded questions from the press in a BA debate.

James Debono blogs, with confidence, on why the Yes vote will prevail.

Tuesday, 17 May

15:03 Fear campaigns always preceded social change, says Moviment Iva, and reiterates claims of intimidation and scaremongering pressure on elderly people in care homes.

13:44 The recently-launched movement of Catholics in favour of divorce legislation describe Bishop Grech’s comments on Sunday as ‘falling short of Christian charity’

13:02 Moviment Zwieg Bla Divorzju maintains that divorces obtained from abroad are ‘insignificant number’.

08:40 If you heard of the homily by Gozo bishop Mario Grech that made the news rounds yesterday, here's the link to the text of his homily disseminated by the diocese, or you can hear the bishop himself preach from the pulpit:

07:32 Good morning, quick roundup: Raphael Vassallo's interview with Zwieg bla Divorzju Arthur Galea Salomone here.


and yesterday, Moviment Iva gave a press conference outside the Office for the Commissioner of Children.

From the world of bloggers, Jacques Rene Zammit at J'accuse... Far from the madding crowd.

The Broadcasting Authority debates continue tonight, this time with journalists putting questions to members of Moviment Iva.

Monday, 16 May

11:03 What a beaut! Il-Mument's (PN organ... ie. a Sunday newspaper) publishes Australian National University study amongst 2,500 Australians that found that children of divorced parents are more likely to smoke marijuana, have sex and live with their partners at age 20, and of course... become teenage parents, suffer breakdowns, and be early school-leavers!

10:45 Here's a digest for some divorce referendum catch-up...

The Cana founder's comments on divorce (Mgr Charles Vella, pictured) become censored TV gold - read about it here.

The PN is taking on the independent media for its coverage of the divorce referendum.

Very interesting: a survey by the          Centre for Family Studies (University of Malta) on remarriage.

From the Sunday sermons, Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando illustrates how easy it is get an internet divorce if you have a sibling living abroad who will take you as a house guest.

Are you Hillelian or a Shammaist? Check out the two intepretations of divorce in Jesus' time.

The Curia takes umbrage at PN mayor Ian Castaldi Paris's comments on their marriage annulments.

Saturday, 14 May

Good afternoon, today is filled with debates, activities and press conferences from different movements who all have something to say about the introduction of divorce. Meanwhile, youth movement StandUP today came up with an innovative idea ... Click here!

Friday, 13 May

18:10 A new controversy: the priest in this video is the founder of the Cana movement and the Broadcasting Authority has upheld his complaint not to air the IVA spot.

17:00 Zwieg bla Divorzju are claiming they face discrimination because two-thirds of the panel of journalists in the BA debate on Thursday - without specifying the names of the journalists or their organisations - are publicly in favour of divorce. It seems Dr Andre Camilleri isn't happy to be interviewed by a panel consisting of PBS (State), RTK (Church), One (Labour), Orizzont (GWU), Malta Independent and MaltaToday, the latter two having editorially declared themselves in favour of divorce.

16:40 Moviment Iva says regulating cohabitation before introducing divorce will be tantamount to institutionalised bigamy.

13:00 Psychologist who authored a study on the effects of divorce on children says D'Amato has misinterpreted the study.

11:31 Alternattiva Demokratika chairperson Michael Briguglio writes in The Times today on Individualisation, families, divorce

11:30 Blogger Jacques Rene Zammit blogs on J'Accuse: imagine the Church was the Department of Health...

10:50 Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi today met with the pro divorce lobby which asked him to publish the draft cohabitation bill the government is planning, before 28 May referendum.

10:13 Well they had to do it! The Hitler-Downfall meme gets its divorce referendum take... courtesy of Divorzistan.

09:30 Good morning... Air Malta has announced it will increase its call centre hours and flights. Read about it here.

Thursday, 12 May

15:09 Pro-divorce Catholics on the block! The wonders never cease...!


The Electoral Commission has notified that the date announced for the commencement of arrangements for Maltese voters abroad to travel to Malta for the purpose of voting in the Referendum has been brought forward to Wednesday, 18 May 2011 (instead of Friday, 20 May).

This change is being effected so that eligible voters living abroad who cannot be in Malta on 28 May would be able to take the required oath as stipulated by law, that is, up to noon of Friday, 20 May 2011. These persons will be able to vote on Saturday, 21 May 2011. The other arrangements remain unchanged.

11:34 A meeting of like-minded people at Zwieg bla Divorzju's meet with the Archbishop of Malta.

08:07 Good morning... yesterday was the first televised debate between the Yes and No camps. And here is James Debono's new blogpost on the consequences of a no victory.

Wednesday, 11 May

18:12 Zwieg bla Divorzju says Moviment Iva's intention to withdraw bill if divorce referendum doesn't pass shows that 'divorce is not a civil right'.

16:05 Glenwhatsisname may have floundered at the Eurovision semis, but Ludwig and Annabelle are rocking the family parade in this video.

14:33 Martin Scicluna, former Din l-Art Helwa president and author of the Today Public Policy Institute's study on divorce and remarriage, writes on the use of children as a weapon in the divorce debate in The Malta Independent here.

13:28 Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando says President George Abela has been given a draft cohabitation bill.

12:52 THE REFERENDUM TICKET HOTLINE is up on 00356-23645321 - Whether you are for or against... vote and make it count.

12:46 David Friggieri, MaltaToday columnist and lecturer in law, on Malta becoming the Dubai in the Mediterranean.

12:00 The Prime Minister talks about his cardinal belief as PN leader: society must bow to the family.

10:40 Children's Commissioner Helen d'Amato is under fire over her free interpretation of a study of the effects of divorce on children. She was a former Nationalist MP and parliamentary secretary for the elderly.

07:35 Good morning... you might be disappointed by Malta's failure to pass through to the Eurovision final. But the divorce debate rages on - tonight there's the first Broadcasting Authority debate between the yes and no camps on divorce.

Tuesday, 10 May

18:49 Planetmona has a moan-ah (arf!) on divorce... read the blogpost here on her food and travel website.

15:29 The blogs on Malta Inside Out are a veritable guide to society and culture in the Maltese islands... we spotted this post on the    billboard battleground in the divorce war.

14:31 Anti-divorce activist Austin Bencini goes on Inkontri and urges pro-divorce lobby head Dr Deborah Schembri to seek legal redress over her unceremonious ‘ban’ from the Ecclesiastic Tribunal.

12:52 A great piece by Sunday Times columnist Michela Spiteri posted on the Malta Chronicle - it's about Tonio Fenech.

10:32 Blogger Jacques Rene Zammit of J'Accuse has blogged here on the emergence of a liberal society in Malta and has also started his own blogroll on divorce (a continuation of his previous electoral blogrolls) at Malta Chronicle.

10:15 Alternattiva Demokratika has set up its own divorce blogroll, featuring photos and videos from its campaign in favour of divorce and links to the blogs of its spokespersons.

Monday, 9 May

19:00 Matthew Vella has uploaded his blog 'Mullahs in our midst' on the people heading the anti-divorce campaign.

16:30 Children's Commissioner Helen d'Amato has met with Zwieg Bla Divorzju reps.

14:07 New items on the referendum campaign. Zwieg Bla Divorzju says Moviment Iva has removed an unpopular TV ad; and Deborah Schembri accuses the no camp of misinformation and lies.

13:48 New video from StandUP youths to get the vote our for the divorce referendum.

09:50 What a find! A Facebook group called Divorzistan and Moviment Tindahalx - great laughs... Thank you @wflask for the alert. He blogs here.

Sunday, 8 May

1:30 Family Lawyer and pro-divorce lobby chairperson Deborah Schembri, who was ‘banned’ from representing clients within the Church’s Ecclesiastic Tribunal, intends to contest the ban after the referendum.

11:00 Moviment IVA’s Deborah Schembri reinforces secularist call: Malta shouldn’t be led by the Church.

07:56 From bghula to malicious mistranslation - this is from yesterday's Iva press conference.

07:23 Good morning... but not for the Yes camp, which appears to have lost six points in support while the No camp has edged forward. You can read that story by checking out our digital subscription HERE.

Saturday, 7 May

19:49 The youth movement StandUP this morning organised their first debate on divorce in Sliema. The debate attracted a number of people who were out and about in Sliema at the time.

Alternattiva Demokratika have uploaded three videos featuring spokespersons from the Green party calling on voters to support divorce in the upcoming referendum. Some of the speakers are not exactly upbeat about it...

Friday, 6 May

18:00 New propaganda posters for the yes movement by supporters making the rounds on Facebook. We've uploaded them on our photo-blog.

13:00 We went to hear Kate Gonzi and Michelle Muscat (first ladies, first wives...) talk at a Mother's Day event for anti-divorce lobby Zwieg bla Divorzju and Kate talked of her dislike of pre-marital sexual relations. Some things, sometimes, are best left unsaid...

11:53 Zwieg bla Divorzju have issued their anthem... a classic mock rave anthem, very Euro-disco, featuring Eurovision starlet Ludwig and his singing partner Annabelle. Ludwig once sang On Again, Off Again with his former partner Julie. Unfortunately, they broke up. A line in the song goes like this: "Our plans caught up in the wind... we believed in each other thanks to God's help and now we're back together."


10:36 Guest blogger Mark Vella writes on Jacques Rene Zammmit's J'accuse about the use of the words 'bghula' and 'pogguti' in the Yes divorce campaign. It's in Maltese: "Mela fors l-IVA kellhom ragun, sew ghax nies li garrbu u sew ghax nies li jifhmu s-sitwazzjoni. Forsi huma wkoll, bhali, raw tassew qalb in-nies li qed jikkumbattu kontrihom. U ghalhekk raw li ghal kull min jippuntalek sejf, sejf daqstant jaqta’ jrid ikun biex joqtlu."

10:30 Here's another alternative billboard from Aron Mifsud Bonnici, who writes today:

"Many Catholics in Malta will vote for the availability of divorce confident in the belief that by doing so they are doing an act of charity with many couples who have been unable to remarry due to a previous failed marriage... These are Catholic Maltese who are not divorced from the realities of life and the aspiration of a developing European society."

10:07 Just uploaded a prayer distributed by mail to Naxxar homes by the parish church, "to be recited every day until the 28th May 2011" - isn't that the referendum day? Check out the photo-blog.

Good morning... Here's the new Facebook group for the youth movement Stand Up (It's time to vote Yes again) that are bolstering the Yes camp. They include Sliema local councillor (PN) Cyrus Engerer, Illum editor Julia Farrugia, and funny-man Chrysander Agius - who's lightening the mood with his 'I Want You To Vote Yes' Uncle Sam billboards.

Thursday, 5 May

18:00 Joseph Muscat has met with a delegation from anti-divorce lobby Zwieg bla Divorzju.

15:43 Just received a tweet from Zghazagh jghidu LE ghad-Divorzju f'Malta telling us they are not endorsed by the main anti-divorce lobby Zwieg Bla Divorzju. They've also uploaded their posters and badges on Twitpic.

@maltatoday - New movement against divorce on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/zaghzagh.kontra.divorzju - NOT ENDORSED BY MOVIMENT ZBDThu May 05 13:31:11 via web


A Kristu Iva Divorzju Le billboard in Sliema that was bookmarked on Facebook.

14:20 Moviment Iva - 'Children will be better off with proposed divorce law'

Blogger Jacques Rene Zammit comments on the Church's role in the divorce campaign with specific reference to the Ecclesiastical Tribunals in Malta, which Raphael Vassallo writes about here.

One of the pro-divorce videos spotted on TVM as part of the BA's schedule:

TONIGHT at 6:45pm A new movement supporting the introduction of divorce, this time geared towards getting the youth vote out, is holding its first manifestation at the LOVE monument in St Julian's. Check them out here.

Blogger Mark Biwwa on the comments left on the Timesofmalta.com comments board on divorce: his new blogpost is called Divorce Troops: Mobilise!

"Tally ho...!"

Blogger, lawyer and photographer (not necessarily in that order...) Aron Mifsud Bonnici was the first on Twitter to signal the impending gaffe that Moviment Iva was about to commit with their shock-value treatment of illegitimate children as 'bghula'.

It-tfal bghula u d-divorzju. Kif ma ghandekx tmexxi kampanja ta' riklamar. http://tinyurl.com/3aqybnw #malta #divorce #referendumSat Apr 30 13:27:11 via TweetDeck


And here's his alternative billboard... which is quite interesting.

Okay guys so vote no so that privileged people can get an annulment quickly while Joe Citizen is tortured by long waiting and mounting lawyer bills. For more info log on: http://mazzun.wordpress.com/2011/05/21/fenech-adami-annullamenti-iva-3-divorzju-le/#more-951
The broader our understanding of life and the universe in which we live, the LOUDER we can hear our CONSCIENCE. . The narrower and tighter our awareness of life and the universe in which we live, the more likely we are to seek ADVICE about moral matters from external authorities. . The hollow voice of the external authority acts as an artificial life support for those people without a conscience.
THOSE WHO WANT DIVORCE TO BE INTRODUCED IN MALTA SOULD GO AND VOTE "YES" ON THE 28th MAY 2011. Thos who abstain may be giving a blank cheque to the Anti Divorcists.
THOSE WHO DO NOT WANT DIVORCE TO BE INTRODUCED IN MALTA SHOULD GO AND VOTE "NO" ON THE 28th MAY 2011. Those who abstain may be giving a blank cheque to the Pro Divorcists.
Fost id-dwejjaq tax-xoghol, irnexxieli nidhaq dahqa sew bil-video ta' Hitler. Min irnexxielu jaghmel ic-captions haqqu GIEH IR-REPUBLIKA JEW L-OSCARS
@gino2766 Gino nixtieq naghmel rimarka fuq il-kumment tieghek. L-ewwelnett nibda' billi nghid li jien favuz id-divorzju biex ma tehodniex hazin. Veru li qassis jista' jgib id-dispensa u jizzewweg, imma ghal knisja xorta jibqa' qassis. Allura nghid jien, fejn hemm id-divorzju, minkejja li jkun ha d-divorzju u jista jizzewweg, ghal knisja Kattolika ta' dak il-pajjiz xorta jkun ghadu mizzewweg bil-knisja - jekk filfatt din il-persuna tkun izzewwget bil-knisja. Id-differenza hi li l-Knisja Maltija ma tridx tirrikonoxxi l-fatt li d-Divorzju u dritt Statali u mhux Religjuz. Jiena ghal knisja li persuna tibqa' mizzewgha, ma taghmilliex differenza ghax id-divorzju jinghata mill-Istat u wiehed jsita' jerga' jizzewweg bl-Istat. Dan ma jkunx hati ta' bigamija ghax l-istat ikun hallu miz-zwieg inizjali.
For more info on how much the church wants to protect our children, read about the pedophilia saga on mazzun.wordpress.com
I say NO to divorce. I say NO to tomatoes also. I hate tomatoes, and therefore I think it should be illegal to eat them! Ban tomatoes (and divorce).
Luke Camilleri
"It is the duty of a citizen in a free country not to fit into society, but to make society." -- John Holt (1923-1985) American author and educator, proponent of homeschooling, and pioneer in youth rights theory
We also have a pro-divorce blog in Maltese which has been functioning for about 3 weeks: mazzun.wordpress.com
Krista Sullivan
jien haga nistaqsi qasis jew patri suppost jghidu li jkun ta'hajtu lill alla, bhal m jaghmlu zewg persuni fi zwieg jaghtu hajjitom ghal xulxin ALLURA NGHID JIEN QASSIS JEW PATRI LI JINHALL U JIZZEWWEG MHUX QISU HA DIVORZJU DAN ? ALLURA GHALIEX PERSUNA LE ? GHALIEX IL-KNISJA HIJA ALL OUT KONTRA DIVORZJU NIXTIEQ XI QASSIS JISPJEGALI