The Guardian: Malta’s divorce debate could do without heavy religious pressure

A billboard reads "Christ Yes, Divorce No". Photo by van brussel

On Saturday, the Maltese people go to the ballot box to decide whether or not their country should make divorce legal.

Malta and the Philippines are the only two countries left in the world where divorce remains unavailable, with the exception of Vatican City. Marriage laws have been a politically contentious issue in the island nation for decades. While it is currently not possible for Maltese courts to dissolve a marriage, divorces obtained by citizens overseas are legally recognised, which is not the case in the Philippines. Those unable to seek a divorce elsewhere have two alternatives. Legal separation enables the division of shared property but partners cannot remarry. Annulment allows for this possibility but then the couple’s own marriage is considered to have never existed. They need to show that it was invalid from the start.

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