Marriage in Kenya
Kenya, the country I currently call home recently signed into law a new marriage act as well.
There are some good things about it chiefly:
- It bans marriage under 18.
- It entitles women to the estate in cases of divorce/abandonment.
Both of these items are important. Child marriage has historically been a major issue in parts of Kenya. Our language istructor told of her tribe where she knew of daughters the age of 12 being married off (read: sold for the bride price). Also, women have historically been oppressed and have struggled to gain equal rights under the law. This now adds some protection for them, if it is necessary (and abandonment/divorce can be a major issue).
But it also appeals to local culture in one specific way that is a bit worrisome: it officially legalizes polygamy locally. And actually, not just polygamy, but it gives the husband authority to marry new wives without consulting any other spouses.
For those living in North America, while you stress about marriage legality in the US, please remember the women of Kenya as well and the broken families that policies like this have the potential to create. Polygamy done in this way definitely wrecks havok on the family system.