US: ‘Serious concerns’ over Burma marriage bill
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US: ‘Serious concerns’ over Burma marriage bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. State Department says it has serious concerns about proposals to criminalize interfaith marriage in Burma.

Separately, a U.S. government commission on religious freedom condemned a proposed religious conversion law, saying it has “no place in the 21st century.”

Nationalist Buddhist monks in Burma are pushing legislation to “protect and preserve race and religion.” President Thein Sein has directed parliament to draft it.

That’s raising questions about the direction of Burma’s democratic reforms as it shifts from decades of military rule.

The State Department says criminalizing interfaith marriages would be inconsistent with tolerance and human rights and has expressed concern to the highest levels of Burma’s government.

Earlier this week, U.S. Ambassador Derek Mitchell said he spoke to women activists who reported receiving death threats for opposing the marriage bill.