2013 Activism

The fight for the establishment of civil marriage

Though civil marriages performed outside Lebanon are legally recognised in the country, officiating a civil marriage contract on Lebanese soil is illegal. Progress on the issue oscillated, however. After a landmark case in 2013, the first civil marriage took place in Lebanon. In 2015, however, the Minister of Interior and Municipalities Nouhad al-Machnouk reversed this development, and requested citizens planning on getting civil marriages to carry them out outside of Lebanon, knowing that their marriage would be recognised domestically.

The demands for civil marriage began in 1951, when the Lebanese Bar Association held a strike for almost six months to demand an optional civil marriage law. These efforts resumed in 1957 with MP Raymond Edde, Leader of the Lebanese National Bloc, proposing to the Parliament to allow civil marriage in Lebanon. In 1975, women’s organisations held a convention to discuss personal status laws, and demanded optional and non-compulsory civil marriage. To this day, Lebanese activists still advocate for the right to undertake civil marriage. They have run campaigns such as the “Campaign for Civil Wedding in Lebanon,” held information sharing events, provided legal advice, and organised protests like the one that took place 17 April 2017.