The civil marriage idea in Lebanon is not recent. It dates back to 1951 when it was discussed in parliament for the first time, and then rejected.
In 1960, secular associations began demanding it again through demonstrations.
The law returned to parliament in 1975 by the Democratic Party. It provoked much controversy when President Elias Hrawi supported it.
The civil marriage concept in Lebanon is a complex issue; involving engagement, marriage, inheritance, child custody, divorce, and alimony.
The new 2019 Lebanese cabinet has put the law back on the table when the Minister of Internal Affairs Raya El-Hassan raised the topic.
As usual, in a religious system such as the Lebanese one, the project, once again, became controversial and the pros and cons of civil marriage were widely discussed.
#1 Better for a diversified society
Lebanon does not yet have a unified personal status law. Each sect follows its own laws derived from the Sharia for Muslims and the Church for the Christians.
Since there are 18 sects in Lebanon, there are 18 spiritual courts with their own laws, rulings, and methods of execution.
The Civil Marriage Law unites all Lebanese in their rights and duties.
Apart from that, the law makes it easier for individuals from different religions and sects to get married.
Fun fact: Civil marriage is a sign of coexistence and civilization, it has the potential of killing the ugly stigma surrounding mixed marriages.
#2 Better for the attainment of women’s rights
Civil marriage is translated by a contract with mutual conditions from the two parties. Therefore, men and women are both equal and they get to set their own terms in the agreement.
Unlike religious marriages, civil marriage doesn’t cause injustice to women and provides both individuals with their earned rights.
Fun fact: Civil marriage sets the legal age of marriage to 18 years.
#3 Better for every civilian
Just like voting, civil marriage is a civil right. Civil rights are a class of rights that protect individuals’ freedom from infringement by governments, social organizations, and private individuals.
They ensure one’s ability to participate in the civil life of the society and state without discrimination or repression.
Lebanon, being a civilized country, should at least procure to its people the right to chose between civil and religious.
Fun fact: Civil marriage doesn’t rule out religious marriage!
#4 Better for the economy
Thousands of dollars get spent each year by Lebanese couples who get civil marriages abroad.
Legalizing civil marriage may threaten the religious constitutions marriage revenue but it will definitely bring the government considerable cash flow.
Fun fact: In 2015, ex-Minister of Interior Affairs, Nohad El-Mashnouk said that he doesn’t encourage legalizing civil marriage and that “Cyprus is not too far”.
#5 Because why not?
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