Yup, you read that right and it happened in France, via Le Monde . So here is the story: this Muslim guy marries a young woman who told her she was a virgin. On the wedding night, he discovers – shock and horror – that she is not. The guy brings the daughter back to her now dishonored family. Then, he hires a attorney to get the marriage annulled (no divorce because, as the attorney puts it, divorce implies fault relating to marital obligations). A judge agrees, stating that the proper reason for the annulment is (my translation) “error on the essential qualities of the person” (the woman that is, the essential quality being virginity).
But this has nothing to do with religion, the man, his attorney and the judge clamor when they get called on it. It’s about the lie. She said she was a virgin and she was not. It was important for the man, therefore, he’s entitled to his annulment. Except, of course, that everyone agrees that the “essential quality” that the young woman lacked was virginity, and that is not neutral. Would he have annulled his marriage if his bride had been a couple of pounds heavier than she had told him?
And it is this kind of reasoning that lead to something I blogged about a while ago: the increase in hymen restoration surgeries for Muslim women in Europe (it’s actually a pretty good post, so just go read it, ok?).
Personally, I think the young woman is better off rid of that idiot. On the other hand, the very fact that she is now seen as having dishonored her family is disturbing because we know that crimes of honor are committed in Europe.
Moreover, as legendary French feminist Elisabeth Badinter points out , in France, consensual sexuality is a private matter over which the court has no jurisdiction. The fact that virginity was “important” to the man does not mean the court should have adjudicated on this.