Features 2015 | Law and Gender

Campaign Calls for a Change to the Marriage Act 1949

The 'Register Our Marriage Campaign’ established by solicitor Aina Khan, calls for a change to the Marriage Act 1949 to ensure that all religious marriages are registered and encourages Muslims to register their marriages.

  • 80%+ of marriages are unregistered amongst Muslims
  • Couples who live together without a registered marriage have no rights in the UK
  • Couples in unregistered religious marriages have NO matrimonial legal rights

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Criminalisation of Forced Marriage

The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, which created the offence of using ‘violence, threats or any form of coercion for the purpose of causing another person to enter a marriage’, came into force in England and Wales on 16th June 2014.

There was concern that criminalisation would deter victims from seeking assistance and may drive the practice of forced marriage underground, but this does not seem to have been the case.

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Female Genital Mutilation

Female Genital Mutilation is a growing problem in the United Kingdom due to the large number of migrants who originate from countries where FGM is practiced (WHO, 2014).

The Home Office estimates that over 20,000 girls under the age of fifteen residing in the UK are at risk of female genital mutilation each year. What can be done to protect them? Dr Ruth Gaffney-Rhys looks at the legislative reforms being promised by the Government.

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British teenagers marry ISIS members in Syria: what is the status of their marriages?

On Saturday 4th July it was revealed that two of the three teenage girls who had travelled from London to Syria earlier this year to join ISIS, were now married. The girls are now living with their husbands and as a result, hope that they will return to the UK has diminished. But if they do so, will their marriages be recognised by the law in England and Wales, asks Dr Ruth Gaffney-Rhys?

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