Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta signed the law on Tuesday, legalizing polygamous unions for men. Women in Kenya, however, can only customarily marry one man.
The bill was passed in March. Male parliamentarians had argued that polygamous marriage was a man’s right upheld both by African tradition and the Bible, but the legislation was heavily criticized by female lawmakers, who stormed out of the parliament in protest.
They had argued that such a law could weaken marriages and impoverish families if a man had to divide his wealth among multiple wives and children.
Many of Kenya’s 42 tribes do not put a limit on the number a wives a man can marry as long as he can afford to do so.
Under the new law, men do not need consent from their current wives if they wish to marry again. It also rules out same-sex marriage, defining marriage – whether monogamous or polygamous – as being between man and woman.