President of Myanmar Thein Sein signed into law the marriage reforms advocated by the 969 Movement and Venerable Wirathu.
These laws consist of the Buddhist Women’s Special Marriage Bill and the Religious Conversion Bill, more details of which can be read at this link.
The Religious Conversion Law requires anyone who chooses to change their religion to apply with a district level “registration board,” submit to an interview and a 90-day waiting period. This is to ensure that no one is being forced to convert against their own wishes which has long become an issue in certain areas of Myanmar.
The Special Marriage Law allows local registrars to publicly post marriage applications for 14 days, during which time any objections to the proposed union can be taken to court. A couple may only get married if there are no objections. Polygamy has also been outlawed as a sinful practice which has always been seen as a violation of the third of the Five Precepts in Buddhist countries.
Buddhist women under 20 years old would also require parental consent to marry a non-Buddhist. Again, this is to ensure that no one is being forced to convert against their own wishes and the wishes of the family.
All Buddhists around the world should praise these reforms aimed at protecting the Buddhist treasures of Myanmar, the people, Sangha, and temples of the faithful.
These reforms are just the beginning of more to come. The Saffron Revolution continues, it is our sincere hope that the karmic damage that has been done will be undone by these measures. We will continue to make progress in realizing a Buddhist model of society so that all may practice the Dhamma in safety. We ask our Buddhist brothers and sisters around the world to see Myanmar as a source for inspiration and a measuring stick with which to measure the sincerity of a country to live the values of the Buddha to the fullest.
We have been truly honored to be born to witness the wise leadership of Venerable Wirathu and the rest of the Burmese Sangha.