Shafaq News/ In Kurdistan, the Personal Statutes Act was amended to impose conditions, sometimes penalties, on husbands who intend to marry a second wife. Wives, on the other hand, are allowed to request unrejectable separation if their husbands proceed with a second marriage.
Those amendments sparked widespread "resentment" among men who saw second marriages as a way to avoid adultery.
Feminist activists, on the other hand, upheld the amended law.
Legal expert Adnan Rahman explained to Shafaq News agency that the Kurdish legislator has specified a set of conditions for a second marriage to take place. "To begin with, the husband shall obtain the first wife's approval. The wife has a disease that prevents her from carrying out her marital duties, such as sterility. Moreover, a husband shall have sufficient financial capacity to provide for both families. He also shall submit a written pledge to the court that he will treat his wives fairly and equally."
Rahman also stated that a second marriage outside of the court system is illegal, "the Kurdish legislator has imposed two sentences, which provide for a prison sentence of at least six months, and less than a year, in addition to a 10 million dinars fine."
"Marrying a second wife can have a negative impact on the family. If we ignore the religious aspect that allows for two, three, and four wives, polygamy does apply to the current situation in Iraq," lawyer Hajar Mohammed told Shafaq News Agency.
In al-Sulaymaniyah, men were not amused with the new amendments, claiming it was biased toward women against men and violated personal freedoms.
Abbas Mohieddin, a retired teacher, told Shafaq News agency that "women in Kurdistan have obtained all their rights. They are equal to men in many fields, but imposing a fine and a prison sentence on those who marry a second wife is an interference in the personal freedom of men. It is contrary to the basic principles of human rights."
"A second marriage is better than infidelity or adultery. Therefore, we were hoping that the legislator would help men reduce those phenomena by supporting the marriage process rather than restricting it with crippling terms," said Iyad Kirkuki.
Furthermore, Kurdistan's Men Association condemned the law. It demanded amending it, "the association lodges 35 to 50 complaints annually from men because of this law, which prohibits husband from marrying a second woman unless the first wife agrees," the association said, calling for "amending the law and making it fair to men's marital rights."
"I support the law passed in Kurdistan. It is a sign that there are laws that protect women and their rights in the society, grant them the capacity to make decisions, and render them equal to men," Leila Taha, a feminist activist in al-Sulaymaniyah, told Shafaq News agency.