Religious leaders have called for the passing of the Marriage Bill to streamline marital rights and duties and also to address marriage challenges.
Speaking during the annual Parliament Week’s inter-religious breakfast prayers on Monday on behalf of the Inter-Religious Council, Pastor Joseph Sserwada appealed to Members of Parliament to process and pass the Marriage and Divorce Bill 2009.
Pastor Sserwada, who is the leader of the Born Again Community in Uganda, said that the absence of a comprehensive law on marriage is one of the major challenges adversely affecting the families of believers including their leaders.
“Recently we saw an instance where a pastor whose marriage was on the rocks taking to making derogatory statements and acting irresponsibly against the institution of marriage. We need Parliament to come up with an Act to guard against watering down of the institution of marriage,” said Sserwada.
He noted that the existing marriage and divorce Acts are insufficient to address marriage disputes in other religious institutions in the country with the exception of the Muslims who, he said, are protected by law designed and enforced around their faith.
“There is need for a law that is tailored to and caters for marriage of people in other religious denominations, something that is absent in both the current laws on marriage and the proposed Marriage and Divorce law,” he added.
Meanwhile the Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga backed the call saying that the church’s support will energize the process of passing the the Bill that has met resistance from mainly patriarchs in positions of power.
“It is the religious institutions that never supported us in the beginning when we brought up the current Bill; the laws that exist are out-dated having been imported here during the British rule more than 50 years ago,” she added.
Kadaga further urged the leadership of both political and religious to open up to discussing and passing the Marriage and Divorce Bill into law.
The 2009 Marriage and Divorce Bill seeks to reform and consolidate the law relating to marriage, separation and divorce; to provide for the types of recognised marriages in the country and marital rights and duties.
Parliament Week is running from the 20th to 25th of January 2020 and building is open to the members of the public to enter interact with members and staff of Parliament to better appreciate various legislative activities.