tuesday, 29 april of 2014

Kenya president signs polygamy bill into law

Polygamy bill

Kenya president signs polygamy bill into law

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday signed into law a controversial bill allowing polygamy. The Marriage Act 2014 brings civil law in line with customary law, where some cultures allow a man to have multiple wives. The bill was approved by parliament last month after heated debate that caused female lawmakers to walk out because it allows men to marry additional women without consulting their first wives. The bill consolidates multiple laws relating to marriage and also provides for procedures relating to separation, divorce and custody.

Polygamy is currently legal and recognized in much of Africa and the Middle East, while it is widely illegal in North and South America, Europe and China. Polygamy - called bigamy when illegal - is criminalized in every state in the US. The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women in 2008 urged toSaudi Arabia outlaw polygamy, which it said is by its very nature counter to gender equality. The year before Indonesia upheld marriage laws limiting polygamy, despite teachings in the predominantly Islamic country's largest religion allowing men to take up to four wives. However, in 2006, a Canadian study urged the Canadian federal government to legalize polygamy to help protect women and children in those relationships.

(Published by Jurist – April 29, 2014)

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