Picture from NowLebanon

Lebanese couples no longer need to travel to Cyprus to have a civil marriage as there is a legal way to do so in Lebanon. Kholoud Succariyeh and Nidal Darwish are supposedly the first Lebanese couple to marry in a civil ceremony in Lebanon and NowLebanon has all the details on how they made it happen with the help of a civil society activist.

Here’s a summarized list of steps on how to have a civil marriage in Lebanon, all taken from NowLebanon’s article:

Step1: Strike out the mention of both Kholoud’s and Nidal’s sects from their respective IDs to prove before the law that they are not affiliated with a sect that forces them to marry before a religious court. They thus acquired the right to hold a civil marriage as per Article 60 L.R.

Step2: Obtain a form signed by the mayor proving that there are no objections to their marriage and put the marriage announcement up on a billboard 15 days before the wedding date to make sure that there were no objections to it. The announcement was supposed to be published in the Official Gazette or at least two newspapers, but in order to prevent any hindrances, Kholoud and Nidal just posted the announcement on the doors of their parents’ houses and on the door of their own house.

Step3: Obtain a legal document signed by a notary public after both parties chose the articles included in the marriage contract as well as a financial disclosure that guarantees the rights of each party to the marriage.

Having done all that, Kholoud and Nidal signed their civil marriage contract on November 10, 2012 and the request is now in the hands of the Consultations Committee at the Ministry of the Interior pending its official announcement.

On the legal level, Husseini, who authored the draft, explained that “The marriage was held based on Decree No. 60 L.R. – a numeration of decrees adopted by the High Commissioner [during the French Mandate in Lebanon] – of 1936, which organizes and recognizes sects and grants them rights. The same decree also recognizes individuals, and we used this same law to strike out the reference to sect [on one’s ID].” Applying Decree No. 60 L.R. for people who are not officially affiliated to any sect provides a solution for civil marriage, he added. “Not being affiliated to a sect does not mean not being a believer; it is merely not making an administrative disclosure of one’s sect and subjecting [instead] to civil courts.” You can read more about the legal aspect [Here].

Let’s hope this brave act by Khouloud and Nidal will encourage the Lebanese state to allow civil marriage in Lebanon.

You can read the Arabic version of the article [Here].