Marlyn Glen MSP
Speech in the Scottish Parliament
2 February 2011
I am pleased that the Forced Marriage etc (Protection and Jurisdiction) (Scotland) Bill has at last come before Parliament, thereby allowing us to catch up with legislation in the rest of the UK, and that it will make a breach of an FMPO a criminal offence.
I understand the reservations that some witnesses have expressed about that
move, but the most important thing is to send a strong signal that Scottish
society does not condone forced marriage.
Moreover, it must be recognised that human rights cannot be seen to be
diluted by culture.
Given that evidence can come to light only after the victim complains of
domestic abuseóand when, after further inquiry, it appears that there has, in
fact, been a forced marriageóI welcome the fact that the legislation will help
victims of forced marriages in the past.
Although amendments will be lodged at stage 2, they will be largely technical
and will cover, for example, the billís definition of relevant third parties
applying for a protection order and, as we have heard, its definition of force.
The definition of forced marriage that the Scottish Government uses is taken
from the UK forced marriage unitís definition, which says:
Committee members heard evidence of women being forced into marriage to act as carers for physically or mentally disabled spouses or to produce an heir.
The distress that is caused by such situations is hard to imagine.
There is no informed consent from either partner in those situations.
One may have been duped or coerced into the marriage, and the other may not have been capable of giving consent.
However, there need not necessarily be duress in the case of a person with learning difficulties, for example.
Such a person may not be able to give consent, so the marriage is forced.
The definition is not included in the bill, but it still needs to be
Again, I am concerned about people with permanent learning disabilities.
If such people are unable to give consent, the passage of time will not change that fact.
A permanent FMPO would therefore be more appropriate in the circumstances.