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Volume 700: debated on Wednesday 23 April 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Lord McKenzie of Luton on 20 March (WA 68), which categories of polygamous marriage are legal under British law. [HL2906]

For a polygamous marriage to be considered valid in the UK, the parties must be domiciled in a country where polygamous marriage is permitted, and must have entered into the marriage in that country. Provided the parties follow the necessary requirements under the law of the country in question, the marriage would be recognised in England and Wales. The law is drafted thus because the Government have no desire forcibly to sever relationships that have been lawfully contracted in other jurisdictions. This should not, however, be construed as government approval of polygamous marriage. The Government do not support polygamous marriage and support the law that prohibits parties from contracting polygamous marriages in this jurisdiction.