Bigamy in the UK?

Mohammed Anwar said a ban would make it difficult to commute between his two wives and fulfil his matrimonial duties.

His lawyer told a Scottish court the Muslim restaurant owner has one wife in Motherwell and another in Glasgow – he is allowed up to four under his religion – and sleeps with them on alternate nights…

Airdrie Sheriff Court had heard that Anwar was caught driving at 64mph in a 30mph zone in Glasgow, fast enough to qualify for instant disqualification.

Anwar admitted the offence, but Sheriff John C. Morris accepted his plea not to be banned and allowed him to keep his licence.

Instead, he was fined £200 and given six penalty points…

[Said Anwar,] “The sheriff did not ban me because I need my licence to run my business, although my wives were also part of the decision.”

I’ll trust Wikipedia on this one and assume that Scottish law does not, in fact, recognize polygamy, whether or not entered into abroad. (See also subsection 5(4)(b) of the Scottish marriage law.) Which means we’re looking here at a case of “I’m married in the eyes of my religion even if you say I’m not.” Since when do state judges cut people slack for practices that violate public policy? It’d be like someone getting pulled over in the U.S. for speeding and telling the court he was late for a cross-burning. Yeah, it’s legal, and yeah, the court has discretion, but why exercise that discretion in favor of rewarding a practice upon which the population frowns? What am I missing?

Tags: religion