In South Africa there is currently quite a stir, especially among the more conservative circles. Everything is due to the controversial decision from the Government of that country, which is studying the possibility of legalizing that women have more than one husband (Polyandria).
The intention would be to make marriage a more inclusive institution, according to a report, since polygamy (only when men are with several women) has been legal for a long time. However, a whole internal debate has been created about whether women should have access to this new form of marriage or not.
“South Africa inherited a marriage regime based on Calvinist and Western Christian traditions,” notes the law document, “current marriage laws are not informed by a global policy that is based on constitutional values and an understanding of the dynamics of a modern society”.
Postures In Favor
For human rights activists, legal polyandry would be an advance in the recognition of equality between men and women. Despite the fact that many people, including women, have very different positions on marriage, legalizing this figure would make marriage “gender neutral”, taking into account that polygamy for men is already legal.
“South Africa could end the categorization of marriages based on race, sexual orientation, religion and culture. That means that South Africa (could) adopt a dual system of monogamous or polygamous marriages”, indicates the suggestion of human rights defenders.
On the other hand, there are people who flatly refuse this option. Television star Musa Mseleku is one of them and argues that polyandry could put the paternity of children into question. “I am in favor of equality, but which family will that child belong to?” questioned the actor, who currently has four wives.
“Protecting our existence … is important to both the current generation and the future. Let’s defend our culture, tradition and customs by participating in this process. Let’s oppose polyandry outright,” the man wrote on Facebook.
South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs has also indicated that religious leaders oppose it
The document sent by the traditional leaders ensures that only men are allowed to have multiple spouses because polyandry is not a practice of African origin. In addition, the leader of the African Christian Democratic Party, Kenneth Meshoe, stated that “men are jealous and possessive”, so a marriage with several husbands would not work.
The promoters of the document indicated that ironically, those who opposed polyandry were those who were in favor of polygamy for men. The proposal is subject to citizen scrutiny and suggestions until June 30th.