Salam and Abi-Nassif exchange vows in the garden of the Sursock Palace. (The Daily Star/HO)
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What made the couple's wedding notable was not the profile of the newlyweds: It was the fact that the ceremony was the first civil marriage to be performed in Lebanon under newly installed Interior Minister Raya El Hassan.While most Lebanese couples who want a nonreligious marriage head to Cyprus or other international locations and later register their marriage contracts in Lebanon, there is precedent for registering civil marriages performed in Lebanon in the case of couples like Salam and Abi-Nassif, who have taken the step of removing their sect from their official identity documents.In April of that year, the Interior Ministry, then headed by Marwan Charbel, completed registration of the marriage, making them the first couple to hold a civil marriage in Lebanon and have it officially recognized.Succariyeh told The Daily Star in an interview over WhatsApp that after she and her husband received a stream of death threats to themselves and their son from religious fanatics, her family fled to Sweden in 2016, where they have been trying to get asylum since. She added that she is not hopeful that civil marriage will be widely implemented in Lebanon any time soon.
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