New Bill on marriage laws is inappropriate

Josue Okoth

What you need to know:

Most domestic crimes are committed in bedrooms where there are no independent witnesses

It has been reported in the media that Parliament intends to pass a Bill harmonising marriage laws. This Bill, if passed in its present form, will cause more harm than good.  Gifts and good will are expressions of love from the heart which cannot be controlled by law.

Uganda has more than 85 percent of its population as Christians. This should dictate the type of law required for them.

A Christian marriage is not simply about a wedding ceremony or man and woman being in love with each other; it is about the contract between God and the couple before a priest and congregation.

Marriage is a Sacrament established by God himself. Man and woman alone are made in the images and likeness of God: “Then God said, And now we will make human being; they will be like us and resemble us…So God created human being making them to be like himself. He created them male and female…” (Genesis 1:26-27).

This tells us that it is not man alone who is the image of God, but man and woman as a couple who are the images of God.

The ‘gender’, now, ‘transgender’ ideology denies God’s plan for human family when he created the human persons male and female.   Men and women do share equality but that equality can only be understood and teases out what it means within the concept of complementarity.

Gender activists have never understood this concept: instead in their programmes they have man versus woman in a negative way. What I seem to understand is that the authors of this Bill have in mind ‘domestic violence’ which is common after marriage.

Domestic Violence has nothing to do with marriage as a Sacrament just as it would have nothing to do with baptism or confirmation.

Apparently the proposed law allows for religious marriage, but when there is a misunderstanding, the registrar of marriage takes it over and challenges it in courts of law. These religious bodies have mechanism of solving such marriage problems using Canon Law.  They encourage consolatory approaches which get back the lost ‘sheep’ as opposed to paying Shs2.4 million or imprisonment or both.

Most domestic crimes are committed in bedrooms where there are no independent witnesses to verify as required by law. Judgment might be in favour of the weaker partner without considering ‘who threw the first stone’.

Law enforcement cannot control desire: Parliament needs to develop a religious mindset among the population. Uganda spends a lot of money and time on fighting crimes – I wish even half of that resource was used on proper religious education.

  Solutions to these crimes cannot be achieved through legislation. Uganda is proud of supporting religious functions, leaders, Joint Religious Council, but what is lacking is proper enabling environment to instill the fear of God. Parliament should handle the issue of teaching Catechism in schools.

  Christian Religious Education (CRE) taught in schools is only general knowledge – there is more in Christianity. A mechanism for teaching Catechism must be worked out for schools. We must accept that religious bodies do not have time with children neither do the parents, who in fact, are even rookies in the subject. We have noted how teenagers are getting pregnant at the watch of their parents. Many people today don’t pray on Sundays because investors who are non-Christians force them to work – creating a dilemma for Christians.

In the long run these weaken faith and people become lukewarm Christians – which is the situation today.  I am not a lawyer, but my definition of ‘law’ is: ‘a science of common sense’.

Dr. Okoth is a concerned Christian and Citizen