Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Polygyny in Syria

This article takes a look at what it calls polygamy in Syria.

Certain he had not returned to his first wife, Reem succumbed to her suspicions and checked her husband’s phone messages to learn he had secretly married a third, much younger wife, several months earlier while she was pregnant with their first child.

Full marriage equality can only truly be equal if all participants in a marriage are informed and consent.

Polygamy remains legal in Syria. Changes to the Personal Status Law in 2008 meant a judge may prohibit additional marriages if a husband cannot prove his ability to provide adequate financial support for all of them. But this vague law is rarely, if ever applied. Polygamy still remains far more common than divorce, according to women’s civil rights groups, and legal experts.

This is limited polygyny, to be precise. Men don’t have the freedom to marry other men. Women don’t have the freedom to marry more than one man or marry other women.

The article goes on to describe the positives and negatives of this limited polygyny in the context of other cultural realities in Syria. I always maintain that polygamy will work best where men and women have equal rights and equal cultural standing. It seems unfair to me that a man could be married to two women in Syria, with everyone being happy, and if they moved to the U.S. one of of the women would lose the status of wife.
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