Tehran’s Family Protection Bill

Iranian Majlis deputies Monday amended the controversial Family Protection Bill that would have made it easier for men to have multiple wives.
Committee spokesman Amin Rahimi told the Iran News Network the Majlis’ judicial commission had voted to scrap two articles of the draft bill—one of which was the controversial article relating to polygamy in the Family Protection Bill. The article had received much criticism and protest from women’s rights advocates and prominent clerics alike, who said the bill “threatens the foundation and sanctity of the family.”
Article 23 would have removed the requirement for women to consent to their husband taking a second wife; it instead required men simply to obtain a judicial permit to remarry confirming they could provide financially for the new wife and that both wives would be treated equally.
Ali Shahrokhi, head of the Majlis’ judicial committee, said the committee restored a clause in the bill requiring consent from the first wife for men seeking to take an additional wife.
Minoo Mortazai, a women’s rights activist, said, “The proposal in its original form added consent of a judge as an extra obstacle for men who wanted to take a second wife. But the government scrapped the need for the permission of the first wife.”
Article 25, the second article that was removed, would have imposed taxes on dowries—the money or property pledged by a husband to his wife—which the wife can claim at any time through the course of marriage or when getting a divorce.
“This is a private agreement between a man and a wife. The government does not have a right to mingle in this,” Mortazi said. Judiciary spokesman Ali Reza Jamshidi said his organization also disagreed with the cabinet’s positions on polygamy and the taxing of “bridal treasures.”
The judiciary, which had originally drawn up the bill, said the two disputed articles had been included by the government. Rahimi said the revision was ordered by parliament speaker Ali Larijani after “clerics, religious people and women expressed sensitivities” about the bill, which is yet to be adopted by the house.
“We hope today’s changes alleviate concerns in the society and Iranian women can raise their children and strengthen the foundation of family with relief,” he added.
The new bill will likely be put to vote in parliament next week.


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