Tough new rules on marriage vows in Maldives

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The Independent Online

The Maldives has set new rules for conducting marriage ceremonies for tourists drawn to the islands' beaches, after being embarrassed by a celebrant who heaped abuse on a Swiss couple renewing their vows.

A government statement yesterday said hotels that breach the rules will be fined £48,000. The vows must be supervised by resort management, and couples can choose the language.

The celebrant and the participants also are prohibited from engaging in any activity "disrespectful or degrading to any religion, Maldivian culture or custom," the statement said. Last week, a marriage ceremony video posted on YouTube with English subtitles showed the marriage celebrant heaping abuse and curses at a Swiss couple.

Speaking in his native language, he chanted in a prayer-like tone and called the couple "swine".