November 12, 2012
Kenya Will Declare Cohabiting Couples Married After Six Months
Decision comes as Uganda invalidates decade-worth of church marriages.
The Kenyan government recently approved a law that will recognize cohabitations of more than six months as legal marriages, and the new policy on "come-we-stay" unions has Christians up in arms over the controversial clause in a larger marriage bill.
Nairobi's Capitol FM reports that "'Come-we-stay' unions usually arise where a man and a woman commence living together as husband and wife and even have children without formalising of their union." But now those unions will be formalized, if the living arrangement lasts more than six months.
Registration still will require mutual consent. However, the law will not discriminate between Christian, Islamic and Hindu marriages, in order to provide legal protection for the rights of children and spouses.
But not everyone favors the changes to the marriage bill. Charles Kanjama, a representative from a Christian professionals' forum, told the Nairobi Star that the bill should be amended to remove the clause on "presumption of marriage," because "the marriage covenant will be broken and many people will be tricked into marriage."
CT recently reported on new marriage policies in Uganda, where the government imposed sweeping restrictions on which churches legally could perform wedding ceremonies, impacting "the validity of more than one million marriages conducted over the past 10 years."