New rules against foreign polygamous marriages
The Government has decided to task an inquiry chair with reviewing how to prevent recognition of foreign polygamous marriages in Sweden.
"Polygamous marriages should not be recognised in Sweden and we need to review the existing legal loophole that makes it possible. Polygamous marriages undermine gender equality and, according to the UN, it can have serious emotional and financial consequences," says Deputy Minister for Justice, Heléne Fritzon.
A person who is already married is not permitted to enter into another marriage. A polygamous marriage entered into in another country by a person who is a Swedish citizen or Swedish resident should not normally be recognised in Sweden. At the same time, the incidence of polygamous marriages in Sweden has risen, not least due to a higher number of asylum seekers with no previous ties to Sweden.
The legislation needs to be clear, and for this reason the Government has instructed an inquiry chair to present proposals on how foreign polygamous marriages can be prevented from continuing in Sweden. The Inquiry Chair has also been tasked with explaining the legal consequences that may arise when a foreign polygamous marriage is not allowed to continue in Sweden and how to avoid unreasonable consequences for the people concerned.
Inquiry Chair Anne Kuttenkeuler
Anne Kuttenkeuler, Judge of Appeal at the Svea Court of Appeal, has accepted the appointment as Inquiry Chair. The final report is due by 31 January 2020.
The Swedish Tax Agency estimates that in Sweden today, almost 170 people – mostly men – are in a registered polygamous marriage. Together, they have a total of 350 spouses. Almost 40 of them have at least 2 spouses registered as resident in Sweden. Around 15 of these are registered at the same address as at least 2 of their spouses. The others are not registered as living with more than one spouse at the same address.