Deceased Wife's Sister's Marriage Act 1907 - Campaigns

Campaigns

In 1842 a Marriage to a Deceased Wife's Sister Bill was introduced and defeated by strong opposition. "Although seemingly a minor skirmish, had far-ranging implications and was fought on the political scene almost annually for most of the Victorian period".

The desire of widowed men to marry the sister of their deceased wife became the subject of particular agitation from the 1860s onwards and strong feelings were roused on both sides. However, it was to be nearly 50 years before the campaign for a change in the law was successful, despite the introduction of draft legislation in Parliament on many occasions. The lengthy nature of the campaign was referred to in the Gilbert and Sullivan opera Iolanthe, in which the Queen of the Fairies sings "He shall prick that annual blister, marriage with deceased wife's sister".

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