Last week, female members of parliament in Kenya stormed out of a late-night parliamentary session about the legalization of polygamy, according to the BBC. The law removing restrictions on polygamy, allowing men to marry as many women as they want without their first wife’s consent.

Before the passing of the new law, first wives were able to give their approval beforehand.  Reports say that about  30 of Kenya’s 69 women members were in the chamber for the debate and walked out in disgust.

Other key elements from Kenya’s bill include:

  • Bans marriage for those under 18
  • All marriages – even customary unions – must be registered
  • Legalizes polygamy, allowing men to marry without consulting other spouses
  • A woman entitled to 30% of matrimonial property
  • Specifies that marriage is between a man and a woman, but does not explicitly ban custom of an infertile woman marrying a younger woman
  • Proposals dropped: Banning bride price payments, recognizing cohabiting, or “come-we-stay”, relationships

The marriage bill now passes to the president to sign before it becomes law.


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