UK makes forced marriage illegal as pursues campaign of 'British values'

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron speaks, with Aneeta Prem from Freedom Charity (L) and Jasvinder Sanghera of Karwia Nirvana, during a meeting with the forced marriage unit in the Foreign Office in central London June 8, 2012.

(Reuters) - Forcing women, men and children into marriage was made a criminal act in Britain on Monday as the government escalated a campaign to promote "British values" of freedom and equality and combat accusations of being too lenient on extremism.

A new law made it a criminal offence to force people into marriage with a maximum jail term of seven years. It also made it a criminal act to force a British national into marriage outside the United Kingdom.

To date British courts have been able to issue civil orders to prevent people from being forced into marriage but this is the first time it has been criminalized.

The toughened stance comes as the government, which faces an election next year, confronts questions about identity in multi-cultural Britain where immigration, particularly from non-Christian societies, has shot up the political agenda to rival the economy among voters' concerns.

Only a handful of countries internationally have criminalized forced marriage, according to a British government consultation paper from 2012, including Germany, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus and Denmark, and Malta. (external - login to view)

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Breaking up something as entrenched as clans (which are the cause of the forced marriages) took a long, long time in Europe. Centuries, in places.

Our politicians are incredibly naive. Why on earth did they ever import clan-based societies to start with? Someone, please tell me!

Blazing Cat Fur: UK makes forced marriage illegal as pursues campaign of 'British values' (external - login to view)
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I saw this on BBC last night. Remarkable that it still exists to this day. While it has been practiced since time immemorial in every culture, it's time to get with the modern era and give freedom of choice to everyone.
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