Christian Marriage Bill To Be Sent To The Law Ministry
The Ministry of Human Rights has decided to forward the Christian Marriage and Divorce Bill 2017 to the Law Ministry to be vetted before it can be forwarded to the Cabinet.
The decision was made by Human Rights Minister after a meeting with a delegation of Hindu and Christian community representatives.
Minister of State for Human Rights, who also attended the meeting, read out several objections and amendments proposed by Christians that the Ministry has received.
The participants at the meeting unanimously agreed to the Christian Divorce Act 1869 and the Christian Marriage Act 1870 to be amended and upgraded.
The delegation included a Christian priest, lawyers, academics and civil society members, who recommended that the Bill’s provisions should be in accordance with the Bible.
They asked for Christian marriage laws to be implemented at the provincial level, the Minister along with the State Minister agreed that resolutions from the provinces should be sought to ensure that uniform laws are implemented across the country.
The delegation informed the Minister that the draft Marriage and Divorce Bill has been agreed upon through consensus among all segments of the Christian community, including churches of all mainstream denominations.
The Bill was finalised after several rounds of discussion among various segments of the Christian community to ensure that it caters to current needs.
There are various lacunae in the 1870 Act, including a provision that stated that a marriage could only be solemnised before sunset, as well as other issues that have become redundant with time. The draft has also increased the marriageable age for the bride and groom from 16 to 18 years.
The Ministry will forward the Bill to the Law Ministry to be vetted. This process would be followed until the National Assembly approves the draft Bill.