Saudi Arabia approves mixed-marriage law
Apparently “mixed-marriage” means marriage to a non-Saudi citizen. The new law now allows these mixed marriages, BUT only to people from other GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries.
According to the article, even that teeny-tiny advancement took years of wrangling. There’s also loads of red tape that has to be dealt with, so it’ll undoubtedly be a maddening process. Last but not least, there’s a pesky little $26,500 fine if you break the law.
This is progress, Saudi style. Infinitesimally small increments of change at a snail’s pace. Good lord, at this rate it’ll be another century before women are allowed to drive. Representative democracy? Fuggedaboudit—the KSA doesn’t have recognized political parties or national elections, so nobody really gets to vote.
Can someone please remind me why they are our friends? Oh, right.
Saudi Arabia approved a law regulating marriage between its citizens and foreigners after several years of haggling because of widening rifts among law makers on the landmark law, the official media reported on Tuesday.
After a lengthy debate on Monday, the Shura council, the Gulf Kingdom’s appointed parliament, ratified the law which gave Saudis the right to have spouses from the other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
A Saudi man or woman seeking to marry from outside the Kingdom or the GCC must submit an application to a government committee to be created shortly by the ministries of interior, foreign affairs, justice and social affairs. The committee also comprises representatives from the Saudi Human Rights Commission.
Experts described the law as a policy turnaround in the conservative Moslem nation and reverses recent calls to introduce tougher curbs on mixed marriage.
They said the new law would help reverse an upward trend in the number of spinsters in Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter.
Another reason is the high divorce rate among Saudis, standing at 18,000 cases in 2010, nearly 30 per cent of the total 60,000 marriages last year.
According to a Shura member, around 700,000 Saudi women are married to foreigners but their husbands and children are deprived of most government benefits granted to Saudis. The new law is expected to end this practice.
“The Shura is also considering a draft law to grant Saudi citizenship to foreign husbands of Saudi women if they meet specific terms,” Shura member Sadqa Fadel said, quoted by the Arabic language daily Almadina.