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Deceased Wifes Sister Mar Riage Bill

marriage, legal and passed

DECEASED WIFE'S SISTER MAR RIAGE BILL, a bill to legalize marriage be tween a man and the sister of his deceased wife that was brought up in almost every session of the British Parliament after 1835, when Lord Lyndhurst secured the passing of a bill which declared all such marriages null and void. The bill legalizing marriage with a deceased wife's sister passed the House of Com mons several times, but till 1896 was invariably rejected in the House of Lords, with, however, decreasing majorities. In 1896 the bill was passed by the Lords, but went no farther. The Colonial Bill, passed in the House of Commons more than 20 years ago and in the House of Lords during the session of 1898, to make mar riages of this class legally contracted in the colonies legal also in England, and the Scotch Bill, having a similar object, also was never carried, though there were not wanting high au thorities who pronounced such marriages legal in Scotland even without any special permissive legislation. It may be added that marriage with a deceased wife's sister was specially legalized under the sanction of the Crown in all the Australian colonies, in Canada, Barbados, Cey lon, Mauritius, New Zealand, South Africa and Jersey. Bills similar to the English bill were

also passed in Natal. These were, however, re fused ratification (by the Crown) for special or technical reasons. Throughout India marriages of this kind were universally legal among all sects and creeds, except British subjects whose domicile was in Great Britain. In every Chris tian country, except Great Britain, such mar riages were legal; and at last, despite the oppo sition and subsequent refusals of the High Church party to recognize the fact, marriage with a deceased wife's sister was rendered legal by the Act of 1907. The marriage of a woman with her deceased husband's brother, however, is still illegal, and the Act forbids the marriage of a man with the sister of his divorced wife during the wife's lifetime.