By Rana Husseini – Jul 18,2017 – JORDAN TIMES
AMMAN — New regulations issued by the Cabinet on Sunday to regulate the legal age for early marriage for girls drew criticism by activists and women groups in Jordan, with many describing it as a “step backwards”.
The regulations replace a previous legislation issued in 2011 that specified the age of marriage for boys and girls along with other matters related to the marriage of youngsters. In 2002, several changes were made to the Personal Status Law including raising the legal age of marriage for men and women to 18 from 15 for women and 16 for men, but the changes still allowed exceptions.
The new regulations addressed the exceptions of allowing the marriage between the age of 15 and 18. They included provisions that allow a maximum 15-year, and less, age difference between the husband and the wife, provided that the would-be husband is not married and that marriage would not prevent the girl from pursuing her education.
Under the suggested law, the judge will have the authority to decide if tying the knot to girls between 15 and 18 would be in their best interest and permit the registration of the marriage contract.
The court is also entitled to explain to the girl that she has the right “to place conditions that will be to her benefit”.
The regulations also stipulated that the newlyweds should present a certificate that they both attended a workshop on marriage beforehand, organised by the Iftaa Department.
Former minister and activist Asma Khader said the new regulations “tighten up the exceptions but there are many loopholes in them including clear criteria”.
“The new regulations do not specify how a judge can check the criteria for such marriage such as if the groom is qualified and the girl really fit to be married,” Khader argued.