Adults Only: Denmark Targets Child Marriages

© Flickr / DFIDA group of Muslim girls
A group of Muslim girls - Sputnik International
The influx of underage brides amid last year's migrant crisis has left many European states struggling with the previously unknown problem of child marriages. Denmark, which received a fair share of over 20,000 asylum-seekers, including underage spouses, is now contemplating banning child marriages altogether.

Wedding - Sputnik International
Forced Marriage Provides Tough Problem for Swedish Judges
According to the plan, recently revealed by Denmark's Social and Interior Minister, authorities plan to make it impossible for couples to bypass the requirement for both spouses to be at least 18 before they marry.

"Marriage is for adults," Karen Ellemann said, as quoted by the Danish newspaper Berlingske. "We must not allow people under the age of 18 to marry or validate marriages involving minors from abroad."

According to the minister, she became aware of the problem more than a year ago, when more "child brides" appeared at a number of asylum centers around Denmark. The Social and Interior Ministry estimates that it gets 16 such cases per year.

Danish authorities have hitherto recognized foreign marriages, contracted by minors. Additionally, couples may seek permission to get married if they are under 18. The waiver which allows marriage for under 18-year-olds under extraordinary circumstances will be scrapped under the new law. Furthermore, the automatic acceptance of foreign marriages in which either of the partners is underage will be canceled. Ellemann is also considering further tightening Denmark's marriage laws, which do not explicitly ban polygamy or forced marriage.

"I will put the law under the microscope to see if there is more to be cleaned up," Ellemann said. "The law should clearly reflect the notion that neither polygamy nor forced marriages are accepted here in Denmark."

Norway, Oslo - Sputnik International
Private Life: Norway Targets Forced Marriages Amid 'Peak Season'
Earlier this year, both Sweden and Denmark came under fire for letting child brides reside together with their adult spouses at refugee centers, despite the fact that child marriage is outlawed in both of the Nordic countries.

Ellemann is known for her campaign to streamline procedures for the Danish authorities' handling of cases involving foreign marriages of minors. By her own admission, the proposed tightening of marriage laws has been backed up by the ruling conservative coalition, the so-called blue bloc, which includes the Liberal Party, the Danish People's Party, the Liberal Alliance and the Conservatives.

Earlier, specific regulations had been approved in both Norway and Sweden. If a person associated with Norway or Sweden goes abroad and gets married as a minor, the marriage is rendered invalid when he or she returns.

To participate in the discussion
log in or register
Заголовок открываемого материала