Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Bigamy

A few times in ministry, I have had to do with bigamy, one way or another. This is one occasion (see the image -- I have cut the personal details off the top). The Department of Home Affairs here informs me that I may have married a man who is already married. In fact, yes. OBSERVATION: It is not easy for this to happen. When I meet with a couple, I run through a standard form, which includes the question as to whether either of them is previously married. I then look over all the relevant documents. During the wedding ceremony itself, I ask them each to declare that there is no lawful impediment to their proposed marriage (required by law). In this case, the man told me in front of his wife-to-be that he had been married once by Islamic rites -- and the marriage had been annulled by Islamic rites -- however this was not on the government system. I said: "You had better be very sure." Afterwards he confessed that he knew he was married by law. It came as a great shock to his bride. One minister told me she waits personally in a queue, to cross-check with the government system -- which takes hours at a time. That is not a requirement for marriage officers.

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