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Egypt: Grand Imam Issues Religious Opinion Calling Polygamy Oppression of Women

(Mar. 18, 2019) Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar (the main religious institution in the Sunni Muslim world), stated on March 2, 2019, that the Qur’anic teachings concerning polygamy have been misunderstood and distorted, with the result that polygamy has been used in a way that is unfair to women. El-Tayeb argued that […]

Finland: Finnish Parliament Revokes Underage Marriage Exception

(Mar. 12, 2019) On February 19, 2019, the Finnish Parliament adopted changes to its Marriage Act, revoking the exception that persons not yet 18 may marry with special prior approval from the Ministry of Justice. (Press Release, Eduskunta [Parliament], Marriage with Underage Individuals Prohibited (Feb. 20, 2019) (in Swedish), Parliament website.) The parliamentary press release […]

Guinea: President Refuses to Approve New Civil Code Legalizing Polygamy

(Jan. 28, 2019) On December 29, 2018, the Guinean Parliament adopted a new Civil Code to replace the one that Guinea has had since 1983. (Guinean Civil Code: Some Advances for Women, but Polygamy Legalized, RFI AFRIQUE (Dec. 31, 2018) (in French); NEW CIVIL CODE (DRAFT), Feb. 2016, Guinea Millenium Challenge Corporation (MCC Guinée) website.) However, […]

Sweden: Parliament Limits Recognition of Child Marriages

(Dec. 10, 2018) On November 21, 2018, the Swedish Parliament (Riksdagen) passed legislation that will limit the instances in which child marriages are recognized in Sweden. (Förbud mot erkännande av utländska barnäktenskap, RIKSDAGEN (Nov. 21, 2018).) Under the new provisions marriages that were conducted when one or both parties were underage will be recognized only […]

Germany: Federal Court of Justice Rules Same-Sex Marriage Does Not Make Wife of Child’s Mother Co-parent by Law

(Nov. 9, 2018) On October 10, 2018, the German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof, BGH), Germany’s supreme court for civil and criminal cases, held that being in a same-sex marriage does not automatically make the wife of the mother of a child co-parent by law. The Court stated that there is no legal presumption for […]

European Union: European Court of Justice Rules on Religious Employment Discrimination

(Oct. 3, 2018) On September 11, 2018, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) held that dismissing a Catholic employee in a managerial position at a Catholic hospital for remarrying in a civil ceremony could constitute discrimination. According to the Court, religion or belief must be a genuine, legitimate, and justified occupational requirement in light of […]

United Kingdom: Supreme Court Rules on Widowed Parent’s Allowance for the Surviving Unmarried Partner

(Sept. 18, 2018) On August 30, 2018, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom issued a ruling stating that “section 39A of the Social Security Contributions and Benefits (Northern Ireland) Act 1992 [the Act] is incompatible with article 14 of the ECHR [European Convention on Human Rights], read with article 8, insofar as it precludes […]

United Kingdom: Supreme Court Rules on Heterosexual Civil Partnerships

(Sept. 14, 2018) On June 27, 2018, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom issued a declaration that “sections 1 and 3 of [the Civil Partnership Act 2004, (CPA)], to the extent that they preclude a different sex couple from entering into a civil partnership, are incompatible with article 14 of [the European Convention for […]

Australia: New South Wales Enacts Bill to Amend Relationship References in Legislation

(July 13, 2018) On June 15, 2018, the governor of New South Wales in Australia gave assent to the Miscellaneous Acts Amendment (Marriages) Bill 2018 (NSW). (Miscellaneous Acts Amendment (Marriages) Bill 2018, PARLIAMENT OF NEW SOUTH WALES (last visited July 12, 2018); Miscellaneous Acts Amendment (Marriages) Act 2018 No 28 (NSW), New South Wales Government […]

Switzerland: Abolition of Marriage Tax Penalty Proposed

(Apr. 5, 2018) On March 21, 2018, the Swiss Federal Council (the Swiss government) adopted a legislative proposal to abolish the “marriage tax penalty” (marriage penalty). The proposal is designed to resolve the decades-long controversy surrounding the issue. (Swiss Federal Council, Botschaft zur Änderung des Bundesgesetzes über die direkte Bundessteuer (Ausgewogene Paar- und Familienbesteuerung) [Message […]