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The Minister of Interior authorises the registration of the first civil marriage in Lebanon, at his own risk and with conditions (!?)



The Minister of Interior and Municipalities Marwan Charbel authorised last week the official registration of the civil marriage contracted between Nidal Darwish and Khouloud Sukkarieh in the civil register.  The Minister indicated that the contract should now come into effect and requested that the couple refrain from changing their confession and to follow the confessional laws to which they are affiliated to regulate all issues related t inheritance, divorce and all other family matters and so as to protect the rights of their children since there is no nineteenth confession in the law.  Charbel based his decision on the views of a number of legal experts whom he had commissioned to produce a study to that effect.  As soon as this news became public, the President of the Republic tweeted congratulating the couple and the Lebanese people for the first civil marriage contracted in Lebanon.  For his part, the Minister of Justice Shakib Cortbawi indicated in an interview to As Safir that this development constitutes a breakthrough in challenging the confessional system that rules the lives of the Lebanese people adding that this achievement means that any couple can now contract a civil marriage in Lebanon without having to travel outside Lebanon to do so.  Attorney Talal el Husseini indicated in his interview with As Safir that the true achievement happened when the couple contracted their civil marriage according to law 60/l.r. of 1936.  However, he criticised the Minister of Interior adding that he has no mandate to impose conditions as per his request that the couple refrain from changing their sect or religion indicating that the Minister is only entitled and is requested to register the contract and not determining its content.
Source: Assafir and Annahar 26 April 2013

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