Did you know that there was a law in the Philippines that says when a woman can remarry?
As of this month, that law is no more!
Last March 13, 2015, Republic Act 10655 entitled “An Act Repealing the Crime of Premature Marriage Under Article 351 of Act No 3815, Otherwise Known As The Revised Penal Code” was signed by President Aquino into law.
Screenshot from gov.ph
What does this mean?
Before the passing of this law, the Revised Penal Code states that it is illegal for any woman to immediately remarry following the death of her husband or following the annulment or dissolution of her marriage. If found guilty of the said criminal offense, sanctions include actual jail time and a fine. ‘The exact provision reads:
Art. 351. Premature marriages. Any widow who shall marry within three hundred and one days from the date of the death of her husband, or before having delivered if she shall have been pregnant at the time of his death, shall be punished by arresto mayor and a fine not exceeding 500 pesos.
The same penalties shall be imposed upon any woman whose marriage shall have been annulled or dissolved, if she shall marry before her delivery or before the expiration of the period of three hundred and one day after the legal separation.
The main thrust of this law is the prevention of doubtful paternity and filiation following the Philippine constitutional mandate that the “state recognizes the Filipino family as the foundation of the nation.”
Article 351 has been identified as discriminatory as no similar provisions of law exist for men. Many have challenged the antiquated provision by claiming that it runs contrary to RA 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women which states that the state “pursues by all appropriate means and without delay the policy of eliminating discrimination against women” and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women which the country is duty bound to uphold.
With the repeal of this law, any woman is now free to remarry at any time she wants, without an enforced “mourning period” following the death of her husband or her dissolution of marriage.
I personally believe that this is a great thing and a step in the right direction. Imagine being sent to jail just because of remarrying! If the whole purpose of the law is to protect the family as an institution, I don’t see how the goal is fulfilled by sending the mother to jail. Seems a little counterproductive, doesn’t it?
How do you feel about this? Let us know in the comments section below!