The draft going before voters Saturday specifies equality regardless of a person's sex and aspires to reserve 25 percent of the seats in the National Assembly for women.
But it also gives each Iraqi household the option of using religious law to decide matters of inheritance, divorce, alimony and other family issues. Rights advocates have said they fear women will be coerced by male relatives into accepting the least favorable interpretations of religious law -- forbidding divorce without a husband's permission, for example, or cutting a daughter's inheritance compared with a son's.
The constitution also sets aside seats for Muslim clerics on the Supreme Court, which will weigh the constitutionality of all laws. In a country where an Iranian-influenced Shiite religious party holds the balance of power, that alarms proponents of women's rights.
"They call this constitution a tent, but they pulled Iraqi women out of this tent," said Zakiya Khalifa Zaidi, 73, a well-known actress who is now an activist.
I'm glad we have a First Amendment here...it's bad enough that our religious right calls for evangelical religious zealots on our Supreme Court, but in Iraq if this constitution passes they'll have mandated religious interference in civil law. Both on their high court and in the home.
So much for freedom...this isn't "freedom" it's repression.