consummation of a marriage

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The “completion” of a marriage by an act of sexual intercourse. It is defined for these purposes as complete penetration of the vagina by the penis (although ejaculation is not necessary). A marriage may be consummated despite the use of a contraceptive sheath. If a spouse is incapable of consummation or refuses without good reason to consummate the marriage, these may be grounds for annulment of the marriage. If one of the partners refuses to arrange an additional marriage ceremony (e.g. in a church) without which he knows his spouse will not agree to have intercourse, this may be a good reason for the spouse's refusal to have intercourse. In this case it is the partner who refused to arrange the ceremony who is regarded as not having consummated the marriage, even though that partner is willing to have intercourse.

Subjects: Law.

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