Bahrain Cabinet agrees changes to premarital law
Manama, May 6, 2013
Bahraini couples with hereditary or incurable diseases could be forced to get court permission before getting married, after the Cabinet approved major changes to the 2004 premarital check-ups law.
The 2004 law was the first Bahraini law drawn up by parliament that would have restrictions introduced on engaged couples to ensure public health safety, said a report in the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
A draft bill will now be passed to the National Assembly (parliament and Shura Council) for revision.
Under the existing law, it is compulsory to get a certificate from the Health Ministry that states a couple have undergone premarital check-ups.
The tests focus on two hereditary diseases - sickle cell anaemia and thalassaemia - and three incurable diseases - HIV, hepatitis and syphilis.
However, the law does not stop people carrying such diseases from getting married.
The Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs sent a letter to MPs in January, saying it was against Sharia Law and a person's human rights to stop anyone from getting married if they choose to do so - even if their partner had health conditions.
However, one of those behind the proposed changes, Dr Jamal Saleh, previously argued it was essential for judges to take the decision in such cases to prevent emotions from getting in the way. – TradeArabia News Service