Justice Hayden received severe backlash when he was asked to consider imposing a court order preventing a man from having sex with his wife of 20 years.
A British Judge is facing the wrath of social media for his recent comments on marital sex. It all started with a remark made by Justice Hayden when he told during a court session that it was a “fundamental human right” for a man to have sex with his wife, reports The Guardian.
On Monday, Justice Hayden received severe backlash when he was asked to consider imposing a court order preventing a man from having sex with his wife of 20 years. This was because she may no longer be able to give sexual consent.
According to social services in London, the woman has learning disabilities, and hence she doesn't have the mental capability to make her own decision on whether she wants to have sex with her husband or not. Hence, the lawyers had requested the court to ensure the woman does not get raped.
The social services took the case to the Court of Protection, which looks at cases where people lack the mental capacity to make their own decisions. The authorities also believe that there was enough evidence to prove the mental health of the woman, and hence the husband should not be given the consent.
Justice Hayden, who was looking into the case at the preliminary court, was told that the husband had offered to give an undertaking not to have sex with his wife. He also stated that he was looking into the details and evidence provided and was ready to hear all the arguments from the lawyers, representing both the husband and woman.
After some time, the judge ruled that the man could face imprisonment if he breached an order, or an undertaking, not to have sex with his wife. He claimed that it was also not possible to police such a move, especially considering they live together.
But what really took center stage during the ruling was the comment made by Justice Hayden soon after. “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.”
And so it began. A series of criticisms followed the statement, starting with Labour MP for Bristol West, Thangam Debbonaire, who tweeted: “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.”
Labour MP Jess Phillips also did not agree with Justice Hayden’s remarks: “It is not a basic human right to have sex with your wife. It is not even close to a right.”
Sophie Walker, the former head of the Women’s Equality Party, took to Twitter to say that his comments were “absolutely terrifying. What hope of equality for women when male adjudicators don’t understand consent?”
Meanwhile, a full hearing is expected to take place for this highly talked about case in the coming months. He also ordered during the hearing that the couple involved cannot be identified.
Marital rape has been a huge cause of concern for feminists who have been campaigning for a change in the UK laws for several decades. They argued, and rightly so, that women were denied bodily autonomy if their husbands were legally allowed to have sex with them whenever they wanted, reports Stylist.
Women's rights activists have been fighting against marital rape in many countries across the world to push for marital rape to be outlawed. It is still legal in many countries including Ghana, Jordan, Nigeria, Oman, India, and China.
It is about time that men realize that nobody is entitled to have sex with a woman, even if they are married, until and unless the woman gives her sexual consent.