Spanish Court Orders Pension Payments to Moroccan Polygamist’s Two Widows

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The Spanish supreme court has granted two women, the widows of a Moroccan polygamist, the rights to widows’ pensions in a landmark ruling, claiming that polygamy does not prevent pension allocation despite it being illegal.

The Moroccan man had died in 2012 and the two women he had been married to both claimed to be eligible for a widow’s pension from the Spanish state.

The court ruled that both women were eligible as they had been legally married to the man but that they would have to split the pension among themselves, Spanish newspaper El Pais reports.

The ruling comes after the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid had initially rejected the claims of one of the widows who then appealed the case to the national Supreme Court.

The case is not the first of its kind in Spain. In 2018, the Supreme Court recognised the right for two widows to collect the pension for their deceased husband, also Moroccan, who had previously served in the Spanish armed forces.

The case referred to Article 23 of the Social Security Agreement signed between Spain and Morocco in November 1979 which states: “The widowhood pension caused by a Moroccan worker will be distributed, where appropriate, equally and definitely among those who turn out to be, according to Moroccan legislation, beneficiaries of said benefit.”

Polygamy is illegal in most countries across Europe, including Spain, although certain countries like Sweden have accepted some polygamous marriages that were carried out overseas before those involved moved to the country.

Swedish politician Jonny Cato, a member of the Centre Party, went even further, saying that he saw both “disadvantages and advantages” to polygamous marriages.

“I think it is a difficult question and it is honestly not something I have thought so much about. I see both the advantages and disadvantages of it,” he said in November of last year.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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