The Bill seeks to consolidate existing marriage laws into a single Act (currently seven).
Marriage â€“ voluntary union of a man and a woman Sec 3(1)
Equality â€“ both parties to marriage have equal rights all through Sec 3(2)
Age â€“ A person must be 18 years to marry Sec 4
Witnesses â€“ Any marriage must have 2 witnesses present (Sec 5(1)) excluding Pastor, Sheikh or Director or the person who officiates the marriage (Sec 5(3)).
Recognition â€“ Christian, civil, customary, Hindu, Islamic marriages recognized and must be registered (Sec 6(1)). Practices of other group or faith may be notified in the Gazette (Sec 6(1)(f))
Monogamy â€“ Christian, Hindu or civil marriages are monogamous (Sec 6(2)
Polygamyâ€“ Islamic and customary marriages are potentially polygamous (Sec 6(3)
Conversion â€“ marriage can be converted from potentially polygamous to monogamous if both spouses voluntarily agree (Sec 8(1))
– Husband must have only one wife at the time to convert to monogamy
– New certificate to converted couples
Subsisting Marriages â€“ No one in a monogamous marriage can contract another marriage. No one in a polygamous marriage can contract a monogamous marriage (Sec 9).
Blood Relations â€“ prohibited marriage relationship â€“ cousins, nephews, uncles, parents, sisters, brothers;
– Marriage amongst cousins professing Islamic faith not forbidden (Sec 10(4)).
Void Marriages (Sec 11(1))
Married parties treated as if there was no marriage at all â€“
– parties are within the prohibited marriage relationship;
– either party is already married;
– by court order
– consent parties not been freely given (fraud, coercion, mental disorder, influence of drugs, intoxication);
– either party is absent from the ceremony;
– parties permit unqualified person to celebrate the union;
– parties are mistaken about the identity of the other party; or
– parties enter the marriage for fraudulent purposes.
Parties have a choice and can decide to uphold the marriage on the grounds thatâ€“
– marriage was not consummated
– Recurrent attacks of insanity
– No notice was given
– Notice of objection not yet withdrawn
– Unlicensed person
– Minor procedural errors
– Failure to register the marriage
I need a break (Sec 14)
– Parties to civil marriages (only) can agree to live apart for one year (Sec 14(1)
– Agreement filed in court, court can vary or set aside the agreement where circumstances have changed
– May elect to marry or stay un-married
Duration of Marriage
Marriage to last until
-presumption of death
-divorce within Kenya or abroad
By Kenya Law Reports