Sunday, 21 November 2010

In Saudi Arabia, child marriage seen as a cure for gayness

Young funImage by Waleed Alzuhair via Flickr  

By Brian Whitaker
I really didn't mean to keep going on about Saudi Arabia but sometimes it's difficult to stop.  
The Jeddah-based Arab News has been talking to a Saudi woman who was married at 13 to a man she had never seen (though, helpfully, her mother and sisters were allowed to describe him to her). The woman, identified by the pseudonym Sabeeha, thinks this is a wonderful idea and recommends it for others. 
According to Sabeeha, one of the major benefits of early marriage (and by "early" we're talking here about early teens) is that it preserves you from getting into illicit romances or – heaven forbid – turning gay. 
"Human nature does not wait for marriage," she tells the paper. "An unmarried girl will start developing an interest in men many years before she reaches her 20s. She might get tempted and have a relationship with a boyfriend who will sleep with her and never marry her ... Even if a girl only has a romantic chat with a man on the phone, it is still a sin." 
Sabeeha continues:
"I see so many students who are lesbians, and they are very open about it. If the parents of these girls had married them off when they attained puberty and began to have sexual feelings, these girls would have been living clean lives without sin with their husbands.
"A girl can continue her education after marriage. What is the wisdom in allowing your daughter to remain unmarried so she can study and become a mature woman, while on the side she has boyfriends or becomes a lesbian?
"Even boys, how many young teenage boys are having physical relations with other boys? Go to the malls and you will see so many boys who are not normal. Some even pluck their eyebrows and wear light makeup and expose their underpants. If these boys were married, wouldn’t that stop them from becoming gay?"
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