Arranged Marriage as a Ground for Asylum
Monday, June 4, 2007 10:48 AM

The Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York handed down a decision in March 2006 that allowed Hong Ying Gao, a young Chinese woman sold into marriage, to remain on American soil because of her well-founded fear of persecution if she returned to her home country. This decision overturned the ruling of the lower court, which perceived the situation as a civil dispute stemming from the $2,200 paid for Gao.

The Bush Administration is now asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case. United States Solicitor General Paul Clement believes that allowing the decision to stand would establish a precedent permitting all women from an arranged marriage to seek asylum in the United States. In Gao's case, in which she fled her physically abusive husband, the appeals court found that she could face persecution through an involuntary and lifelong marriage.

Compiled from: Does the Prospect of Arranged Marriage and Abuse Warrant Asylum in the US?, Warren Richey, The Christian Science Monitor, 23 March 2007.