The Swedish government has been accused of allowing exceptions in a new bill aimed at banning the recognition of polygamous marriages carried out overseas.
Swedish Liberal Party MP Robert Hannah criticised the government bill this week, claiming that while the proposal is advertised as wanting to ban polygamous marriages, it leaves the door open to exceptions.
“The Riksdag [parliament] has clearly stated that NO polygamy should be recognised in Sweden. Nevertheless, the government now has a bill recognising polygamy in some cases,” Hannah said and asked Justice Minister Morgan Johansson when it was “okay for patriarchal men to be married to several wives?”
“Just three years ago, the Social Democrats and the Green Party thought that polygamy should be stopped completely. Now they have turned around completely and think it is okay for men to have several wives in exceptional cases. An exception that risks becoming the main rule,” he added.
On the Swedish government website, the description of the bill states that “the government proposes a general ban on recognising polygamy entered into under foreign law”.
Swedish Politician Sees ‘Advantages’ of Polygamy https://t.co/OLiIpTUzbx
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 6, 2019
“It is discriminatory that men are allowed to marry several women and not compatible with the principle of equal treatment of spouses on which Swedish law is based and the demands for equality. The government is therefore proposing a new main rule that no foreign polygamy should be recognised in Sweden,” the summary of the bill states.
“Exceptions to the prohibition shall be possible only if there are exceptional reasons,” the summary adds but does not detail what the reasons may be.
While Sweden has had laws banning polygamy within the country, the issue of multi-partner marriages came to the forefront in the wake of the 2015 European migrant crisis as some migrants from areas such as the Middle East came to Sweden with multiple wives.
In 2017, a Swedish woman working as a helper for asylum seekers defended the practice in a Dutch documentary in which she introduced the filmmakers to a man with two wives and over half a dozen children living n Sweden.
In 2019, Jonny Cato, a member of the Swedish Centre Party, spoke on the topic of polygamy, saying: “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.”