GREAT BRITAIN: Amending the Affinities

The 400-year-old "Table of Kindred and Affinity" in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer is still the basic framework of Britain's complex marriage and divorce laws. Adapted from John Calvin's zealous compilation of Mosaic laws and medieval mores, it stipulates who may not marry whom.

One category in it that particularly rankles Britain's Tory Lord Mancroft is the prohibition of marriage to a brother-in-law or sister-in-law. Not until 1907 did Parliament pass a law permitting a man to marry his deceased wife's sister; not until 1921 could a woman marry her deceased husband's brother. Lord Mancroft has been trying since 1949—against...

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