It is no secret that women in Lebanon have to deal still with archaic gender-bias laws that require urgent changes, adjustments, or even the total eradication of some. Reconciling their reality with the Lebanese progressive mentality and our women’s high level of education and career success has been a painful hardship for our society.
Among these laws, the rights of Lebanese women to nationalize their children when born to foreign fathers, and the rights of foreign spouses to the nationality.
The struggles have been more relevant these past two decades, naturally, considering the ongoing evolution of our women and their awakening to what’s right and fair and what isn’t in our laws. Hence, in recent years, their efforts and endeavors have been many, even countless, to bring balance and harmony to our human society with judicial fairness and rights.
So, no wonder we get to heartily welcome now the memorandum of the Director-General for Personal Status, Mr. Elias Khoury. He demands from the Head of Departments and Registry Officers the application of Article 5 of the Lebanese Nationality Law.
The Article 5 declares, “The foreign woman married to a Lebanese shall, upon her request, become Lebanese after one year from the date of registration of the marriage in the Civil Status Office.”
Therefore, as of this month, foreign women spouses of Lebanese citizens are entitled to apply for the Lebanese citizenship at the registry offices without the signature of their husbands.
The memorandum stressed that “A new form must be adapted to fill the application for citizenship, which preserves the law of nationality from one side and is less complicated than the previous model, in both practical and administrative terms, while adhering to the same mechanism in order to ensure all information contained in the application and the right of women to obtain Nationality.”
In force as of April 1st, both the memorandum and the new form state: “Memorandum No. 35 concerning the mechanism and conditions of reception and completion of transactions of acquisition of nationality by marriage.”
These Mechanisms and conditions can be reviewed on the website of the Directorate General for Civil Status www.dgcs.gov.lb
It remains that foreign women working or residing in Lebanon cannot, by law, apply for citizenship if they are not married to a Lebanese man. That privilege is granted only by ‘male priority placed on women’ and not by their own rights.
Nonetheless, we maintain hope that this is only the beginning for more and more improvements and changes towards a more consciously evolved human society. After all, the reason of existence of any and all laws is, by principle and ethics, to serve the well-being of all citizens equally. Failure to do so, their reason to exist is no longer.