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Foreign Law Bans: Legal Uncertainties and Practical Problems

Published: May 16, 2013

Over the last two years, lawmakers in 32 states have intro­duced and debated bills seek­ing to ban foreign, inter­na­tional, and reli­gious laws in state courts. Five states—Ok­lahoma, Kansas, Louisi­ana, Tennessee, and Arizon­a—have already enacted foreign law bans and many more are pick­ing up speed. Fueled by a grow­ing tide of anti-Muslim senti­ment, these bans create a host of unin­ten­ded consequences ranging from confu­sion over how courts should treat marriages, divorces and premarital agree­ments with reli­gious or foreign origins to uncer­tainty over how inter­na­tional busi­nesses conduct commer­cial trans­ac­tions in the United States.