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Kuwait women can get passport without man's consent

Two Kuwaiti veiled women look at a shop window in Kuwait City December 23, 1998. Kuwait, where women fought for years for voting rights, has said married women can obtain passports without the approval of their husbands, a newspaper reported on Wednesday. REUTERS/Yves Herman/Files

KUWAIT (Reuters) - Kuwait, where women fought for years for voting rights, has said married women can obtain passports without the approval of their husbands, a newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The constitutional court in the Gulf Arab state ruled a 1962 law requiring the need for spousal consent was unconstitutional and a violation of rights, the daily al-Qabas said, publishing the verdict.

Rulings of the constitutional court, the country’s highest court, are final and cannot be appealed.

Kuwait has the most open political system in the conservative Gulf Arab region, but women only won the right to vote in 2005. Four won parliamentary seats in elections this year.

Rights groups welcomed the decision. “This is a move that pleases everyone and not just Kuwaiti women, because I think it is democracy that won this time,” said Lulwa al-Mulla of the Women Social Cultural Society.

“This law was behind many humanitarian problems, because a lot of men just wanted to hurt their wives, especially after separation,” said Ali al-Baghli, a former oil minister.

Reporting by Eman Goma; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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