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No man can keep two wives, Irish supreme court rules

In a significant ruling, the Supreme court of Ireland has stated that recognition of polygamy in Ireland would give legal effect to discrimination and subordination and there is noo room for marriage allowing more than one wife.

All people are equal before the law, so Irish law has no room for a version of marriage that, by its structure, allows a husband have more than one wife, ruled Supreme court on Thursday.

“To give legal recognition to such a structure would be to give legal effect to discrimination and subordination in a relationship where the principle of equality should show sway,” wrote Ms Justice Iseult O’Malley, in a judgment supported by six of her colleagues in a seven-judge court.

Nevertheless, the court overturned a High Court ruling from 2011 and decided that the first wife of a man who married twice in Lebanon, before moving here, should be a recognised as his spouse under Irish law.

The Lebanese man had married two women in Lebanon. He sought asylum here in 1998, and was recognised as a refugee in 2000. His second wife was admitted here, with some minor children, in 2001, on the basis that she was his spouse. She is now an Irish citizen. She came as part of the family reunification system.

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