According to the German publication Die Welt, the court ruled it unconstitutional for Germany to outright ban child marriages that were lawfully conducted abroad.
“In the specific case, it was about a Syrian refugee couple, who had fled in August 2015 over the Balkan route because of the war to Germany,” reports the outlet. “The couple had previously been legally married on 10 February 2015 in a Syrian Sharia court. The husband was 21 years old on his wedding day, his wife was at the age of 14.”
Upon immigrating to Germany from Syria, the couple was separated following registration in the Schweinfurt facility. The 14-year-old girl had been placed in a youth welfare facility for female underage refugees; her appointed guardian was the Aschaffenburg youth welfare office. Her 21-year-old husband had no contact with her and was not even informed of her whereabouts.
In a very enlightened judgment, the Federal Supreme Court struck down the new anti-child marriage law as violating Germany’s Basic Law. “Future child marriages will be examined on a case-by-case basis and will no longer be given a blanket ban. The court stated that the ban on child marriage violates Articles 1 (human dignity), 2 (free development of personality), 3 (equal protection) and 6 (protection of marriage and family) of the Basic Law, which serves as the German constitution.” Of course, it could be argued that the very institution of child marriage actually violates Articles 1 and 2, however valid the arguments regarding Articles 3 and 6. You could also argue that treating immigrants and German citizens differently to benefit the immigrants by in effect validating and applying foreign laws in Germany actually violates the equal protection provision. But then I’m not a German lawyer.
You probably won’t be able to travel from Germany to another jurisdiction, contract a child marriage, come back with your bride and hope to be accepted under the German law, but the lesson for migrants is: get married before coming to Germany and it should be fine. Coincidentally, this same principle can well apply to polygamy. And so,Germany is no longer importing people and their culture but also their laws.