A number of atheist bloggers have already expressed their outrage about Afghanistan's "marital rape" law, along with even greater numbers of human rights and feminist activists and supporters.
Of course, supporters of the law claim that it is a whole lot of fuss being raised about nothing. Below are some excerpts from this article on Al Jazeera English online.
A top Afghan cleric [Mohammad Asif Mohseni] who backs a law that critics say would allow marital rape has dismissed the outcry the legislation has generated in the West.
The law states that "it is essential for the woman to submit to the man's sexual desire" and says a husband can demand sex with his wife every four days, unless she is ill or would be harmed by intercourse.
Surrounded by supporters, Mohseni unfurled reams of paper with hundreds of women's signatures and thumbprints backing the law.
He also said much of the uproar had come from people misinterpreting the law and that a woman could refuse sex with her husband for many reasons beyond illness, including fasting for Ramadan, preparing for a pilgrimage, menstruating, or recovering from giving birth.
Wow, it looks like we really were overreacting! Hundreds of Afghani women support this legislation. And women can refuse sex if they are preparing for a pilgrimage, or for the entire month of Ramadan.
Yeah, sure you can claim that hundreds of Afghan women support a law that legislates that a woman must submit to her husband's sexual desires every four days. But no one, man or woman, has the right to dictate to another woman when and if she must have sex with her husband. Call me a radical, but I support the idea of full equality of the sexes and that women have the right to bodily autonomy, including whether to terminate a pregnancy and if, when and under what conditions a man's penis gets to penetrate her vagina. And how many of those women's fingerprints in support of the new law were supplied under coercion?
Maybe it's just me, but the idea of having sex with a woman against her will strikes me as barely a step above masturbation. If she is just going to lie there while she waits for Abdul to get it over with, Abdul might as well just stick his dick in a sex doll. From what I have read, they're getting more lifelike all the time, as demonstrated by the picture at the top of this post.
Or how about this? If you want to have sex with your wife, Mister Afghan stud, how about bringing home your wife a box of chocolates or some nice flowers? How about helping out with the household chores once in a while? Buy her some perfume and tell her how beautiful she looks. It might increase your chances of her actually wanting to do the nasty with you. On the other hand, If you need a piece of legislation passed by parliament to get laid, then you're a really pathetic guy.
There's always a chance that Afghan President Hamid Karzai will force further revisions to the law, but no matter what changes he might wring out of the religious conservatives, it is likely that the principle that a wife must submit sexually to her husband will still be enshrined into the law. Yes, it is completely unacceptable, but there does not seem to be a hell of a lot we can do about it.