Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Case for Marriage Contracts

Why I read "Religion Clause."

"In Zawahiri v. Alwattar, (OH Ct. App., July 10, 2008), an Ohio court of appeals affirmed a Columbus, Ohio domestic relations court's refusal, in a divorce action between a Muslim couple, to enforce the "mahr" (dowry). Under Islamic law, the mahr must be part of the marriage contract. The mahr, signed by the bride and groom during the wedding ceremony, included an agreement for husband Mohammad Zawahiri to pay his wife, Raghad Alwattar, $25,000 in case of divorce or Zawahiri's death. The trial court refused to enforce the mahr, holding that the Establishment Clause of the Ohio Constitution bars it from enforcing a contract that requires performance of a religious act. The trial court also held that the mahr was not a valid pre-nuptial agreement. The court of appeals held that the mahr contract— rushed into just hours before the wedding ceremony-- is not a valid pre-nuptial agreement. That being the case, the court said that the Establishment Clause challenge is moot."

Muslims and the "breakaway" LDS sects provide experimental real life test situations for informal polygyny. If the relationships are not legal, the private agreements will not be upheld in court.

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