An original translation from Stuttgarter Zeitung by Egri Nök.
German Top Court Decides:
German Passport And Two Wives: Both Is Permittable
By Eberhard Wein
August 27, 2017
A Syrian, who is married to two wives, can still become a German national. The city of Karlsruhe cannot revoke his naturalization, the administative court says.
Karlsruhe – if you contract a second marriage abroad, you can still be a good and loyal citizen. This is the gist of a verdict of the administrative court (VGH) in Mannheim. The highest administrative law judges of the country repealed a contrarian decision by the administrative court Karlsruhe. The city of Karlsruhe had revoked German citizenship from a native of Syria, after it surfaced that he had married a second wife in his old homeland.
The 36 year old Kurd came to Germany in 1999, studied and became a construction engineer in 2008. He married a German that same year, and applied for German citizenship shortly thereafter. At the naturalization test, he scored 33 out of 33 possible points. He received his naturalization certificate in October 2010.
Shortly after the wedding he married a second wife
In 2010, 2013 and 2015, three children were born. But then the man recognized fatherhood for another child born in Damascus in 2012. What surfaced now led to the city of Karlsruhe revoking the naturalization. The man allegedly had married another woman in Syria, already in June 2008, only seven weeks after his marriage in Germany. The charge is that he had given incomplete information in his application.
In the verdict, the administrative court leaves open the question if the plaintiff gained naturalization by willful deceit. It is true that the application form only asked for “previous marriages” and not “additional marriages”. Still, the judges of the previous instance were not wrong to say that a second marriage should have been stated “all the more”. But at the same time, the senate does not share the administrative court’s opinion that the principle of singular marriage was part of the constitution.
Marriage saved woman from ostracism
The city of Karlsruhe had argued that polygamy violated the dignity of man as guaranteed in article 1 [of the German constitution – translator] – in the judges’ opinion “an absolutely unique legal opinion”. They pointed to a decision by the administrative court Regensburg: Who violates the principle of single marriage, is not necessary an “enemy of the constitution”, it said “boldly and correctly”.
In the case at hand, the court also acknowledged the special circumstances. The plaintiff said that he had married the woman, his cousin, because their affair from the year 2006, was busted. Only this way he were able to save her from social ostracism in Syria. His Muslim belief allowed a multiple marriage. At the same time, he admitted, he could not imagine to be one of several husbands.
Case of fundamental importance
After detours over Istanbul, Abu Dhabi and Sweden, the wife now lives in Karlsruhe, too, but in an apartment of her own. His first wife always knew of her, allegedly. There would be no marital contact. The city of Karlsruhe already lodged an appeal against the verdict. The administrative court allowed the revision at the Federal Administrative Court. „We deem the clarification of this legal matter of fundamental importance for generality and consistency”, a townsspeaker said.
(File Reference 12 S 2216/14).