What's Wrong With Unrecorded Islamic Marriages
The same week that Republican convention delegates unanimously voted for a platform provision stating that judges should not consult foreign law or customs to guide them in interpreting American law, the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled on the convoluted case of a bogus Muslim marriage which set the stage for a potentially bigamous Muslim marriage.
North Carolina's highest court sorted through contorted facts and two previous rulings to reach the proper conclusion: that a marriage performed in defiance of state laws -- which regulate ministerial qualifications and marriage registration -- was not valid. The legality of this prior non-compliant marriage had everything to do with how the courts would determine the rights of the husband and wife in the current dispute.
An earlier marriage had involved a Muslim woman participating in some kind of commitment ceremony to a Muslim man. Whether or not the procedures that followed were legally acceptable hinged upon whether a truck driver could legally perform a wedding; whether a properly executed marriage license was required (the state law was later changed to relax licensing requirements); and, whether a verbal Islamic divorce was valid. Also, the record states that the "marriage" only lasted for weeks and was never consummated. Later the same year, the ostensible wife married a different man but this time followed civil marriage requirements.
It should not be surprising that the first union -- and its demise, as it skirted all of the aforementioned solemnization requirements -- later became grounds for a bigamy claim. This bigamy pretext would provide the second husband an escape strategy from child and spousal support obligations. Days after the wife filed for divorce from the second husband, with whom she had three children, the husband filed for an annulment of the marriage. Naturally he claimed that at the time of their legally correct marriage, the woman he assumed was his wife was still married to the husband from the un-formalized union. (...)