Myanmar's Interfaith Marriage Law is So Controversial It Doesn't Even Make Sense

It all started with a group of nationalist Buddhist monks who proposed a controversial new marriage law in Myanmar. This discriminatory law would block any non-Buddhist man from marrying a Buddhist women.


Photo: Members of Me N Ma Girls (Burmese girl band) in their traditional Burmese attire.

In July 2015, lawmakers in Myanmar passed this stupid legislation despite opposition from rights advocates who say it discriminates against women.

So, the law requires Buddhist women and men of other faiths to register their intent to marry with local authorities, who will display a public notice of the engagements. Couples can marry only if there are no objections; but if they violate the law, they could face imprisonment.

The proponents say the law will protect Buddhist women who marry outside their faith but I doubt it.

The MPs are just thinking about themselves to maintain their seats in parliament because Ma Ba Tha [Committee to Protect Race and Religion] will challenge them if they don't approve the law. Ma Ba Tha could tell people not to vote for them. Ma Ba Tha is an organisation formed of Buddhist monks which promotes hardline Buddhist nationalism.

Human Rights Watch said that Myanmar’s President Thein Sein should refuse to sign into law the discriminatory interfaith marriage bill passed by parliament on July 7, 2015. And I absolutely agree with that.

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