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Kenyan cabinet seeks end to bride-buying

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- Kenya's cabinet has approved an end to dowries but permitted polygamy in a controversial set of laws for the country's parliament to consider.

The new rules, which also consider a couple living together for more than six months as married, won't become official without parliament's approval and cabinet officials say it provides recognition and legal protection for Christian, Islamic, Hindu and traditional African marriages, the BBC reported Friday.

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The most contentious proposal is the end to dowries, a payment made by the groom's family to the bride's family in exchange for the woman's hand in marriage. The practice is widespread in Kenya's 40 tribal ethnic groups. Current law and customs hold a marriage is not legal until the dowry is paid, usually in the form of cows.

The legalization of polygamy, cabinet officials said, was to bring national standards in line with ethnic traditions. Several of Kenya's tribes practice polygamy. Cabinet officials told the BBC their recommendation was to make husbands and wives equal to one another despite the practice.

The BBC said Kenya's parliament, comprised of 90 percent men, is unlikely to pass the measures.

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