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Premature Marriage – Not Anymore

A number of provisions in the Philippine’s Civil & Penal Codes discriminate against women. The reason, they say, is because most of these laws were drafted during an age when the country was very paternalistic and women lawmakers were almost unheard of.

One of those provisions is Article 351 of the Penal Code on premature marriage. It requires a widow to wait for 301 days after the death of her husband before getting married again. If she is pregnant at the time of her husband’s death, she must wait until she gives birth. Otherwise, she’d have to pay 500 PHP and get jail time for up to six months. The same prohibition applies after a woman gets legally separated or her marriage annulled. Men, on the other hand, can get married even the day following their wives’ death. Absurd, I know.

Thank God there are still functional lawmakers in our country! On March 13, 2015, Republic Act No. 10655 repealing Article 351 finally became a law. Women, hurrah for that! For a full text of the law, click here.


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