Lebanese government approves first ever civil marriage

Lebanon allows non-religious marriages for the first time in recent history

by The Commentator on 26 April 2013 11:02

Lebanon-secular-couple

Lebanon's Interior Minister Marwan Charbel has signed the first civil marriage certificate after a year-long campaign to allow such unions.

Kholoud Succariyeh and Nidal Darwish, were married in what they called, "the first victory for the civil state in Lebanon, the state we all dream of."

The state-run National News Agency reported on yesterday, "Succariyeh and Darwish's union becomes the first civil marriage registered in the records of the Directorate General for Personal Affairs in Lebanon."

Charbel pointed out: “Their religions must not be changed and the couple's marriage would follow the laws of personal affairs that their sects stipulate, awaiting issuing a code that governs optional civil marriage in the country.” He explained that this is because there are no texts concerning divorce, inheritance and kids for “people with no religious affiliation.”

Following the spread of the news, Lebanese President Michel Suleiman congratulated the couple via Twitter. "Congratulations on the registration of Kholoud and Nidal's marriage contract," he wrote.

The move has been described by the couple as an "historic step".

President Suleiman has since lobbied for a civil marriage law as a "very important step in eradicating sectarianism and solidifying national unity" but caretaker Prime Minister Najib Miqati and Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani rejected it.

Qabbani issued a fatwa against moves to legalise civil marriages inside the country, where couples of different faiths have to travel abroad to tie the knot.

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