Kenya's President Signs into Law Controversial Marriage Bill Legalising Polygamy

A Kenyan couple kissing at their wedding in Tayana gardens in Nairobi, 3 September 2013
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has signed into law the controversial marriage bill that allows men to marry as many women as they please, without prior approval from his first wives.


Female Kenyan MPs had walked out of parliament in disgust las month after their male counterparts voted through the amendment. They argued that a decision to take on another wife would affect the whole family, including the financial position of other spouses. The bill was also opposed by Christian leaders who urged the president not to sign it into law, saying it undermined Christian principles of marriage and family. Archbishop Timothy Ndambuki, from the National Council of Churches of Kenya, was quoted by Kenya’s Standard newspaper as saying:

The tone of that bill, if it becomes law, would be demeaning to women since it does not respect the principle of equality of spouses in the institution of marriage.
However, the law now states ever Kenyan woman must be 18 before getting married. Plans to ban the payment of bride prices were dropped.

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