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Geography and geopolitics of marriage

Joy Irish

Tying the knot in most cultures comes with a long list of traditions and ceremonies. But no matter the culture, there is one simple fact that all cultures have in common, and that is husband and wife MUST be together after marriage if they so choose.

In todays’ world of borders and control, it is not as easy as it once was. Girl meets cross-border boy, they fall in love and get married, and live together in any country they choose- his or hers. Hollywood movies have aided the conventional insight that one way to speed through the red tape of immigration is to marry. And this is causing a lot of distress to genuine couples who are from different countries and wish to live together after marriage.

Marriage fraud is the main reason most countries have very stringent marriage immigration laws. Or is it?

Marriage and Culture

Different countries have different cultural beliefs when it comes to marriage. Some African cultures marry traditionally and this type of marriage is not recognized in any court of law. Some religions believe that a man or woman can marry more than one partner and expect all partners to be recognized by a court of law and immigration law. Should these cultural beliefs be shunned?

In South Africa, the lawful status of Muslim marriages has been questioned, unlike other forms of marriages under civil or African traditional law. The resultant effect is that many Muslim families are stigmatized due to their traditional beliefs as their children are regarded as illegitimate. To make matters worse, Muslim women find themselves disinherited, in the event of divorce. So imagine the bureaucracy involved when a foreign Muslim wants to marry an indigenous Muslim.

Marriage and Migration

One of the most exasperating feature of immigration is how long it takes to get an approval. This is mainly so in spousal applications. For instance, if an American ties the knot with a Canadian, processing times seem fairer and quicker than if the American marries an Indian.

In America, the processing times declared by the U.I.S appears to be quite sensible, but in reality there are so many other factors that become apparent to the untrained eye.

Discrimination Across Borders

However, if this American decides to go abroad and live with their newly married partner in India, the process will be easier and faster. The trend doesn’t just apply to America, but to most cross border marriages involving citizens of developed nations and citizens of developing nations.

From the UK, Canada, America, Australia and other developed countries around the world, the immigration laws do not favor the idea of marriage. The UK spousal financial requirement for instance, requires that a British citizens earn at least £18,600 a year to bring their EU spouse into the country. This is one of the most brutal laws against marriage, as low income earners make up majority of the population in the UK

The above types of law and others being enforced worldwide are against the institution of marriage and can only be abolished if countries come together and create international agreements, treaties and conventions that can help to bolster the idea of marriage.

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