[JURIST] The Pakistani province of Sindh on Monday became the first province to legalize Hindu marriage under the marriage registry in the nation. Under the new law [BBC report], Hindus over the age of 18 can register their marriages and the law will apply retroactively. Proponents of the new law argue [RFE/RL report] that it will help increase the safeguards for Hindu women in Pakistan as they are typically targets of forced conversions, kidnappings and forced underage marriages, and they believe this law will work as a deterrence. Some, however, believe the law was passed in haste and will have no real effect on the problem of forced conversions plaguing so many Hindu women.
This development comes at a time when the issue of same-sex marriage continues to be a controversial international issue. Last month Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore instructed [JURIST report] state judges not to issue same-sex marriage licenses [order] because the Alabama Supreme Court [official website] had previously ruled that the state's ban on same-sex marriage is legal. A same-sex couple in Northern Ireland filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] in November to challenge the same-sex marriage ban, arguing that reducing their marriage to a civil partnership is unlawful discrimination. The same month, the Constitutional Court of Colombia [official website, in Spanish] ruled that same-sex couples can legally adopt children because allowing [JURIST report] same-sex couples to form a family upholds equality and is in the best interest of children and teens.