1974 Italian divorce referendum

Source From Wikipedia English.

An abrogative referendum on the divorce law was held in Italy on 12 May 1974. Voters were asked whether they wanted to repeal a government law passed three years earlier allowing divorce for the first time in modern Italian history (Law of 1 December 1970, no. 898). Those voting "yes" wanted to outlaw divorce as had been the case before the law came into effect, and those voting "no" wanted to retain the law and their newly gained right to divorce. The referendum was defeated by a margin of 59.26% to 40.74% on a voter turnout of 87.72% out of 37 million eligible voters, thus allowing the divorce law to remain in force.

Referendum on the Abrogation of the Divorce Law
12 May 1974
Do you want the Law of 1 December 1970, No. 898, on the regulation of cases of dissolution of marriage, to be abrogated?
OutcomeDivorce law remains in force
Results
Choice
Votes %
1974 Italian divorce referendum - Wikidata Yes 13,157,558 40.74%
1974 Italian divorce referendum - Wikidata No 19,138,300 59.26%
Valid votes 32,295,858 97.80%
Invalid or blank votes 727,321 2.20%
Total votes 33,023,179 100.00%
Registered voters/turnout 37,646,322 87.72%
Blue indicates provinces with a majority Yes vote, while Red indicates provinces with a majority No vote.

This vote was the first of its kind in the country, being the first regular legislative referendum held by the Italian Republic 27 years after the Italian constitution, which allowed such referendums, was approved. It was considered a major victory for the civil rights and anti-clericalism movements, and for the Italian Radical Party.

Initial petitions

In January 1971 Agostino Sanfratello from Piacenza and Franco Maestrelli from Milan were the first to request a referendum against the divorce law at the Court of Cassation on behalf of the movement Catholic Alliance. Signatures and petitions for the 1974 referendum were collected by Christian groups led by Gabrio Lombardo with very strong support from the Catholic church.

Political party positions

The Christian Democrats and the neo-fascist Italian Social Movement intensely campaigned for a yes vote to abolish the law and make divorce illegal again. Their main themes were the safeguarding of the traditional nuclear family model and the Roman Catechism.

Most left-wing political forces, the main ones being the Italian Socialist Party and the Italian Communist Party, supported the no faction.

Intense campaigning for a no vote also came from Marco Pannella of the Italian Radical Party which had been petitioning for a right to divorce in Italy since the early 1960s.

Choice Parties Political orientation Leader
 Y Yes Christian Democracy (DC) Christian democracy Amintore Fanfani
Italian Social Movement (MSI) Neo-fascism Giorgio Almirante
 N No Italian Communist Party (PCI) Communism Enrico Berlinguer
Italian Socialist Party (PSI) Socialism Francesco De Martino
Radical Party (PR) Libertarianism Marco Pannella
Italian Republican Party (PRI) Social liberalism Ugo La Malfa
Italian Liberal Party (PLI) Liberalism Agostino Bignardi
Italian Democratic Socialist Party (PSDI) Social democracy Flavio Orlandi

Confusion about voting

The wording of the referendum statement caused significant confusion, with some people not understanding that they had to vote "No" in order to retain the right to divorce or vote "Yes" in order to outlaw divorce. It was argued that the wording made the statement insufficiently clear, and some campaigners from the no camp stated that without this confusion the no vote might have been even higher than the 59% obtained. (See double negative.)

Censorship

The Eurovision Song Contest 1974 held in April of that year was not broadcast on the Italian state television channel RAI because of Italy's entry, a song by Gigliola Cinquetti. Despite the contest taking place more than a month before the planned vote, and despite Cinquetti eventually coming in second place, Italian censors refused the contest and song to be shown or heard. RAI censors felt the song, titled "" (Italian for "yes") and containing lyrics constantly repeating the word "Sì", could be accused of being a subliminal message and a form of propaganda to influence the Italian voting public to vote yes in the referendum. The song remained censored on most Italian state television and radio stations for over a month.

Results

Choice Votes %
Yes 13,157,558 40.74
 N No 19,138,300 59.26
Invalid/blank votes 727,321
Total 33,023,179 100
Registered voters/turnout 37,646,322 87.72
Source: Ministry of the Interior
Referendum results (excluding invalid votes)
Yes
13,157,558 (40.7%)
No
19,138,300 (59.3%)

50%

By region

Region Provinces Yes No Voters Turnout
Votes % Votes %
Abruzzo Chieti • L'Aquila • Pescara • Teramo 332,899 48.87 348,229 51.13 698,591 82.16
Aosta Valley 16,753 24.94 50,412 75.06 69,731 86.81
Apulia Bari • Brindisi • Foggia • Lecce • Taranto 996,017 52.60 897,630 47.40 1,930,165 84.66
Basilicata Matera • Potenza 159,339 53.58 138,024 46.42 306,461 78.87
Calabria Catanzaro • Cosenza • Reggio Calabria 460,118 50.85 444,732 49.15 929,809 74.14
Campania Avellino • Benevento • Caserta • Naples • Salerno 1,300,382 52.23 1,189,374 47.77 2,536,839 79.27
Emilia-Romagna Bologna • Ferrara • Forlì • Modena • Parma • Piacenza • Ravenna • Reggio Emilia 771,689 29.03 1,886,376 70.97 2,718,077 95.28
Friuli-Venezia Giulia Gorizia • Pordenone • Trieste • Udine 292,762 36.16 516,798 63.84 827,951 89.94
Lazio Frosinone • Latina • Rieti • Rome • Viterbo 1,042,313 36.62 1,804,009 63.38 2,892,505 89.58
Liguria Genoa • Imperia • La Spezia • Savona 335,075 27.43 886,343 72.57 1,249,008 89.42
Lombardy Bergamo • Brescia • Cremona • Como • Mantua • Milan • Pavia • Sondrio • Varese 2,172,595 40.09 3,246,669 59.91 5,545,794 93.15
Marche Ascoli Piceno • Ancona • Macerata • Pesaro 370,794 42.38 504,226 57.62 903,809 92.28
Molise Campobasso • Isernia 104,221 60.04 69,372 39.96 178,484 75.87
Piedmont Alessandria • Asti • Cuneo • Novara • Turin • Vercelli 838,143 29.17 2,035,546 70.83 2,954,956 90.79
Sardinia Cagliari • Nuoro • Sassari 338,344 44.80 416,965 55.20 768,792 81.93
Sicily Agrigento • Caltanissetta • Catania • Enna • Palermo • Ragusa • Syracuse • Trapani 1,163,074 49.42 1,190,268 50.58 2,404,640 76.59
Trentino-Alto Adige Bolzano • Trento 247,917 50.60 242,051 49.40 505,578 89.82
Tuscany Arezzo • Florence • Grosseto • Livorno • Lucca • Massa-Carrara • Pisa • Pistoia • Siena 722,105 30.40 1,653,198 69.60 2,425,088 93.95
Umbria Perugia • Terni 170,054 32.63 351,077 67.37 532,525 92.79
Veneto Belluno • Padua • Rovigo • Treviso • Venice • Verona • Vicenza 1,322,964 51.08 1,267,001 48.92 2,650,676 93.60
Italy 13,157,558 40.74 19,138,300 59.26 33,023,179 87.72
Source: Ministry of the Interior

By most populated city

City Yes No Voters Turnout
Votes % Votes %
Turin 154,908 20.14 614,066 79.86 780,799 90.71
Milan 293,045 26.50 812,955 73.50 1,121,926 91.03
Genoa 128,669 24.30 400,707 75.70 538,632 88.58
Venice 68,647 29.23 166,222 70.77 238,697 94.03
Bologna 94,695 26.74 259,389 73.26 359,705 96.27
Florence 91,359 28.73 226,672 71.27 323,258 94.25
Rome 539,601 31.99 1,147,279 68.01 1,705,079 89.38
Naples 238,464 39.70 362,218 60.30 606,157 79.72
Palermo 135,149 43.71 174,024 56.29 313,228 76.51

See also

References