Monday, June 01, 2015

Turkey's Constitutional Court Invalidates Ban On Religious Marriage Without Civil Certificate

Anadolu Agency and Hurriyet Daily News report on the May 27 decision by Turkey's Constitutional Court striking down Sec. 230 paragraphs 5 and 6 of the Turkish Criminal Code that prohibit arranging or conducting a religious marriage ceremony without obtaining a civil marriage as well. Four of the 16 judges dissented.  Stressing the constitutional protection for freedom of religion and conscience, the court majority said that since it is legal for couples to live together without being married at all, equal treatment requires allowing couples to live together with only a religious ceremony.  Reacting, officials expressed concern that the decision will encourage the illegal marrying off of children and the erosion of the position of women. The case arose when a lower court in Erzurum province referred a case to the Constitutional Court instead of convicting an imam and the couple he married.