Mali's President Bails on Women's Rights Law

Protests force him to send it back for review
By Sarah Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 27, 2009 8:27 AM CDT
Mali President Amadou Toumani Toure says he's sending the law back to parliament for the sake of national unity.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Mali's president says he won't sign a controversial new law that gives more rights to women, the BBC reports. President Amadou Toumani Toure says he supports the so-called family law, which Muslim leaders have denounced as the devil's work, but is sending it back to parliament for review. "I have taken this decision to ensure calm and a peaceful society," he said.

Under the law, women aren't required to obey their husbands, and the minimum age for marriage is raised to 18 in most cases. Another point unpopular in the 90% Muslim country: Marriage is defined as a secular institution. Women's groups have been pushing for the changes for 10 years.