“This legitimises misogyny and woman-hatred.”
An English judge, responding to a court order preventing a man from having sex with his wife because she may no longer be capable of consenting, said Monday during a court hearing that the “right of a man to have sex with his wife” is fundamental, the Guardian reported.
A court has ordered that the couple cannot be identified. The man’s wife reportedly has learning disabilities, which are worsening.
U.K. social service officials brought the case to the court of protection after discovering that the woman’s condition had deteriorated to the point where she may no longer have the mental capacity to give consent. According to the Guardian, lawyers suggested it might be necessary for a court to get involved in order to ensure the woman is not raped.
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The man offered to refrain from having sex with his wife, the court heard. However, Justice Hayden, the judge involved in the case, said he wanted to hear arguments from lawyers and question the parties involved before ordering the man not to engage in coitus with his wife.
The judge said the man could be jailed if he failed to obey an order not to have sex with his wife. Hayden also raised the issue of how the order would be policed.
“I cannot think of any more obviously fundamental human right than the right of a man to have sex with his wife – and the right of the state to monitor that,” he said. “I think he is entitled to have it properly argued.”
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Hayden’s comments did not sit well with Labour MP Thangam Debbonaire, an avowed feminist. The lawmaker spoke out on social media, accusing Hayden of legitimizing “misogyny and woman-hatred.”
This legitimises misogyny and woman-hatred. A judge stating “I cannot think of any more obviously fundamental human right than the right of a man to have sex with his wife”. No man in the UK has such a legal right to insist on sex. No consent = rape. https://t.co/PUYmhR9TN3
— Thangam Debbonaire (@ThangamMP) April 2, 2019
“This legitimises misogyny and woman-hatred,”Debbonaire tweeted. “A judge stating ‘I cannot think of any more obviously fundamental human right than the right of a man to have sex with his wife’. No man in the UK has such a legal right to insist on sex. No consent = rape.”
Meanwhile, the former leader of the U.K. Women’s Equality Party, Sophie Walker, was similarly appalled by Hayden’s remarks, calling them” absolutely terrifying.”
“What hope of equality for women when male adjudicators don’t understand consent,” Walker said in a tweet.
Some commenters came out in support of Hayden, claiming that the judge had been the victim of poor reporting.
Disgusting. Rape within marriage is illegal & no human rights entitle you to have sex and yet #JusticeHayden said "I cannot think of any more obviously fundamental human right than the right of a man to have sex with his wife" https://t.co/MJ3hcG0XnQ
— Harriet Trevor-Allen (@HTrevorAllen) April 3, 2019
“The right to have sexual relations does come under Art 8. This is the judge saying to the lawyers ‘whoa there, you can’t give away this right when you don’t know her capacity yet,'” wrote one commenter, who also argued that the judge’s remarks should be viewed in the context of the man attempting to voluntarily extinguish his right to have sex with his wife.
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