I used to think there were only two sorts of marriage when I was (much) younger the proper way and that beastly foreign arranged way, I was also vaguely aware that some cultures allowed more than one wife. Now I’ve run across several new types of “marriage” some of whom are not marriage at all in that they involve people of the same sex, (semantics I know, but I’m a bit of a traditionalist here) though I’ve no objection to them living together if they want too. That said, I’m a bit jaundiced that their civil partnerships aren’t available to the rest of us should we simply wish the state to recognise a living arrangement. Another sort of marriage I’d become aware of over the last few years is forced marriage…
A five-year-old girl has become Britain’s youngest known victim of forced marriage, it has emerged. The child, who has not been named, was among 400 children dealt with by the Home Office’s dedicated Forced Marriage Unit, last year. An 87-year-old woman was also a suspected victim.
But campaigners warned that the case could be just the tip of the iceberg with “thousands” of children in some communities believed to have been promised in marriage from birth.
The case was highlighted by Amy Cumming, joint head of the unit, who was speaking as a consultation on plans to make forced marriage a criminal offence.
Currently it is not illegal in Britain to force someone to get married against their will.
The strongest sanctions available are “Forced Marriage Orders”, a type of civil court order which operate like an injunction but are viewed as little more than a “slap on the wrist” by critics.
A similar consultation exercise eight years ago – which led to the introduction of the civil orders – prompted the then Government to decide against criminalising force d marriage.
That followed claims from some quarters that the law might “stigmatise” communities and drive the practice even further underground.
Supporters of criminalisation say that only by making it a crime will victims feel confident to come forward.
I cannot think of any other term for this other than slavery, yes I know the community most involved with this consider it as simply arranged, but arranged in my view generally means by consent and not the consent of the parents involved and certainly not as a way to get one of their cousins into the country on a UK passport. The main reason that 8 years ago this issue wasn’t brought to a head though is politics (yes you guessed) and more specifically the debased multicultural ethos that was reaching epidemic proportions in the then Labour government who decided that they didn’t want to “offend” other cultures whose values were not ours. So the practice was allowed to continue with only a nod to a slap on the wrist form.
Yet some things should offend us, forcing a 5 year old into marriage that she neither understands or is ready for should offend us. From a purely medical point of view marriage to first cousins and close relatives should offend us because of the inherent genetic risks (and cost to our health service). Yet as the government vacillates the practice goes on and kids are married (sometimes over the phone) in order to get someone into the UK as the spouse of a UK citizen.
There are two things to be done really, one is to clamp down on the marriage for visa business, the other is to demand a genetic scan of the two spouses to see if they are too close a relative and have any problems we don’t want to pay for.
If we do that though, prepare for the screams of outrage from the perpetually offended race industry.