Church leaders have opposed the Marriage and Divorce Bill 2009 saying its provisions would erode the fundamental family values if enacted into law.
The leaders, in a memorandum to Parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee, ask Parliament not to hurriedly enact the bill that they say would also cause disharmony in communities.
The churches are particularly concerned that the bill caters for civil, Christian, Hindu and customary marriages but does not provide for marriages under the Islamic faith.
Uganda Law Reform Commission two years ago decided to split the Domestic Relations Bill into two parts so as to provide for a separate marriage and divorce law for the Islamic faith. It was hoped that splitting the bill would end the long standing debate on formulating a family law in Uganda.
Stephen Langa, the Executive Director of Family Life Network, however during the presentation in parliament said making a separate law for the Islamic faith amounts to creating national religion which is prohibited under Article 7 of the Constitution.
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Church leaders are also opposing a section of the proposed law that seemingly legalizes cohabitation. The law suggests sharing of property between persons in cohabitational relationships.
They say such a provision is undesirable for society and that its legalization would draw people away from the institution of marriage
Winnie Matsiko, the Rukungiri Woman MP and former Chairperson of Uganda Women Parliamentarians Association says the religious leaders are bringing in new issues to block the bill which Parliament is determined to enact before end of the current term.
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Bishop Mathias Sekamanya, of Lugazi Diocese however insists that the fact that many people are cohabitating should not prevent church leaders from speaking against cohabitation.
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Sekamanya says issues to do with inheritance or children rights have been adequately catered for and should not be part of the marriage and divorce law.
The Divorce and Marriage bill seeks to ban widow inheritance and also women to divorce their husbands when they are permanently impotent.
The bill also provides for sexual perversion, cruelty, desertion, change of religion, sodomy, bestiality, homosexuality and pornography as grounds for divorce.