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Kenya legalizes polygamy

A controversial amendment was included in the bill, requiring no consultation of prior wives before a man takes additional wives.
By Ed Adamczyk Follow @adamczyk_ed Contact the Author   |   April 29, 2014 at 3:24 PM

NAIROBI, Kenya, April 29 (UPI) -- A bill legalizing polygamy in Kenya was signed into law by President Uhuru Kenyatta, bringing civil law into line with customary law in which some Kenyan cultures allow a man to have more than one wife.

A controversial amendment was included in the bill, requiring no consultation of prior wives before a man takes additional wives. Last month, female members of parliament walked out in disgust as male members approved the amendment.

The bill was opposed by Christian leaders in Kenya, claiming it undermines Christian and family values, as well as equality. The law “would be demeaning to women since it does not respect the principle of equality of spouses in the institution of marriage,” Archbishop Timothy Ndambuki of the National Council of Churches in Kenya said.

The law abolished the practice of unofficial and unregistered traditional marriages, and sets the minimum age for marriage at 18, regardless of the tribe or culture.

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