I have a question about divorce: I am from Thailand, with Thai and Italian citizenship, my Husbond is Italian: I want a divorce, I have been living in Thailand for several years and my Husbond lives in Italy. I live with another man here in Thailand. Our marriage is registered in Thailand and Italy, in Thailand I can get a divorce quickly and without problems, but in Italy I don`t know how a divorce can happen. This philosophy was enshrined in the new republican constitution, which recognized the family as a “natural society” – a rhetorical strategy that gave it a special ethical status in the new Italy.  The particular constellation of Italian political forces in the mid-1940s, including a Communist Party determined to strategically avoid divisive moral issues, contributed to the success of this project of defending the family as the foundation of the new republic. For at least another two decades, Italy`s political, religious and cultural contexts remained unfavorable to the introduction of laws that would treat marriage and family as secular institutions linked to sociological developments. Although Italy participated in the post-war economic boom and its social structures were shaken by migration, changing work patterns and new demands on women, marriage and family laws remained firmly rooted in a more static and religion-determined worldview that emphasized the benefits of family stability as a counterweight to social change. This Catholic discursive monopoly was so strong that, until recently, the various attempts of Italian men and women to introduce alternatives left little impression on the historiography of the nation.  But when the Italian family`s “steel capsule” was symbolically enhanced by the introduction of a divorce law in 1970, and even more so when that law was approved by the Italian people in a referendum four years later, the nation had clearly reached turning points.
Several scholars have analyzed the exciting and complex political history behind the introduction of the divorce and its public confirmation a few years later, giving the general impression that the parliamentary events represented the belated efforts of the Italian political class to keep pace with fundamental changes in the mentality of its electorate.  The vectors of these changes in public opinion, even in the decades before 1970, have been less analyzed, perhaps because they are more amorphous than the clear line of parliamentary discussions or the paroxysmal riots of 1968-69. Given the particular relevance of marriage and divorce to women, it is particularly surprising that feminist historians have left the issue relatively unnoticed. One possible explanation is that women`s historians have seen divorce law, although it concerns private life, as motivated by male initiative, an event in the annals of traditional political history. A related possibility is that divorce could only be seen as a women`s issue within an emancipatory framework, which Italian feminist historians have tended to avoid since the mid-1970s.  This would explain why the abortion debates that followed the divorce referendum, which particularly affected women, tended to overshadow the latter as a milestone in historical accounts of women`s lives in Italy.  Nevertheless, there is little doubt that the lengthy discussions about divorce among Italian women as early as the 1950s played a crucial role in paving the way for the family law changes of 1975 and the abortion debates of the late 1970s. At the time of the divorce referendum, women voters outnumbered men by about 1.7 million, and the divorce lobby feared that women would vote to abolish the divorce law.  When this did not happen, the anti-divorce lobby was shocked to learn that Italian women`s views on marriage and family had changed dramatically in recent decades and that women could no longer be counted on to block secular initiatives. While the events of 1968-69 were rightly seen as a key moment in this transition, the historical focus on these years tended to overshadow the less obvious but nonetheless significant changes of the period leading up to the mid-1960s.