Target: President of Burma, Thein Sein
Goal: Abolish proposed marriage law that discriminates against women
Discriminatory marriage proposals are underway in Burma as President Thein Sein seeks to ‘preserve race and religion’ in the Asian country. The proposed legislation would deny Buddhist women the right to marry outside of their religious denomination and seek parental approval before eloping.
Submitted to President Thein Sein by a group of Buddhist monks, the marriage act would subject Buddhist women to only marrying other Buddhists. It also states that individuals who do hold other religious beliefs must convert to Buddhism and seek written consent of the bride and the bride’s family. Those in violation of the proposed law can face up to 10 years in maximum security prisons and even risk the loss of property, such as a home or business.
Like many proposed marriage laws, men remain largely unaffected with their autonomy intact. Men in Burma need not consult with their parents before getting married. Instead, they obtain written approval in advance from the soon-to-be bride’s parents or legal guardian — even if the bride hasn’t consented to the marriage herself. Not only does this strip women of their right choose a spouse, it also jeopardizes her ability to make decisions regarding her life – as many women are expected to become homemakers and mothers.
This shocking legislation violates fundamental rights to liberty and religion for all women in Burma. It also contravenes the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, a bill of rights, to which Burma supposedly supports, that states all women have a right to be protected by their governments from adverse discrimination, especially regarding matters surrounding marriage.
Further, the proposed marriage law also breaches Burmese constitutional law that states no citizen should be discriminated against based n race, birth, religion, or sex, to name a few. In a country as diverse, both ethnically and culturally, as Burma, this legislation is an unfortunate step back in the fight for women’s rights and equality.
Sign the petition to tell President Thein Sein to abolish this discriminatory law and restore the power of choice back into the hands of women in Burma.
Dear President Thein Sein,
As a supporter of women’s rights and equality I am thoroughly appalled with your decision to consider a discriminatory legislation that will strip women of their fundamental human rights and cause crippling disparities amongst genders and religious minorities. Burma is a country of admirable diversity, not only in ethnicity and culture, but religion as well. Almost 11% of the population identifies as something other than Buddhist. To put such strict regulations on marriages perpetuates prejudice and gentrification.
This proposed law keeps women in the shadows of their guardians and spouses. I urge you to abolish this ridiculous legislation and understand that women have the right to marry whomever they choose, Buddhist or otherwise, and deserve to have a say in decisions that govern their livelihoods.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: sharonang via pixabay