Jordan’s Parliament has voted to repeal a controversial clause that spares rapists punishment if they marry their victims and stay married for at least three years, according to Jordan’s official news agency.
Jordan’s cabinet moved to abolish Article 308 in April, receiving the endorsement of King Abdullah. The proposal had been pending ratification by Parliament in a session Tuesday.
The vote count was not disclosed to members of Parliament and the motion was not discussed. Tahboub is a member of Jordan’s Islamist Islah bloc, which voted unanimously in favor of annulling the legal loophole.
Despite the country’s pro-Western political orientation and cosmopolitan urban elites, many areas of Jordan remain socially conservative, with entrenched notions of “family honor.”
This includes the belief that having a rape victim in the family is shameful, and that such “shame” can be expunged through marriage.
In Tuesday’s debate, some lawmakers had argued that an amended version of Article 308 was needed to protect rape victims against social stigma by giving them the marriage option.
The decision must still be approved by parliament’s appointed upper house, or Senate, and by King Abdullah II. After the expected final approval, Jordan would join Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt which have canceled their “marry the rapist” clauses over the years.
The international rights group Human Rights Watch said Lebanon’s parliament is also considering repealing such a provision. The clause remains on the books in several other countries in the Middle East and Latin America, as well as in the Philippines and Tajikistan, HRW said.