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New South Africa marriage law may allow women marry more than one man


As polygamy is considered legal in some countries, a new South African marriage law may in the near future, allow women to marry more than one husband

The legalisation of polyandry is one of the wide-ranging proposals in South Africa’s Green Paper on Marriages.

The landmark 67-page policy document was published by the country’s Department of Home Affairs this week.

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The department in the document emphasised that it sought to create a new Marriage Act that will allow all in the country to conclude recognised, legal marriages.

Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Rastafarian marriages were not recognised by South African law and on the other hand, marriage legislation was deemed to not promote equality. The Green Paper also puts up proposals for their recognition.

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“The failure to recognise these religious marriages is untenable and discriminatory,” said the document.

The Green Paper proposed three new marriage regimes it maintained could bring about equality in marriage laws.

Option one was an ‘inclusive customary and religious marriage regime’ which would see the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act amended to cater for all marriages irrespective of race, cultural and religious persuasions.

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Option two would be a religion and culture-neutral marriage regime.

The third option would be a genderneutral marriage regime which would accommodate both polygyny and polyandry,’ said the document.