BEIRUT: The family of a woman seeking a civil marriage license in Lebanon voiced disapproval Friday with their relative’s decision and said her actions did not reflect their own religious beliefs.
“The Succariyeh family would like to clarify that ... it is a believer of the heavenly religions and thus committed to what Islam says, particularly in terms of personal issues,” the family said in a statement.
Earlier this month, Kholoud Succariyeh and Nidal Darwish announced that they were in the final stages of registering the first civil marriage in Lebanon, sparking a nationwide debate over the country’s failure to recognize the civil right.
Succariyeh and Darwish, who deleted the mention of their sects from their Identification Cards, signed their marriage contract on Nov. 10 of last year with the assistance of a lawyer who insists that Decree 60 of 1936 allows Lebanese who do not belong to a particular sect to have a marriage out of religious institutions.
The relatives said their statement Friday was aimed at correcting false descriptions of the family in the media as a well as the “ruckus” that the case had generated.
It rejected the notion of civil marriage in Lebanon.
“We reject outright non-religious marriage or what some call civil marriage,” the family’s statement said.
Interior Minister Marwan Charbel says he is not in the position to approve the marriage given the lack of a proper law governing civil marriage.
The family Friday distanced itself from the couple’s decision, saying it was “personal and does not reflect the family’s [behavior].”
It added that “Nidal and Kholoud were married two months ago by a religious figure.”
“Therefore their marriage is legitimate and all it needs is official registration,” the statement said.
Several days after President Michel Sleiman called for legalizing civil marriage in Lebanon, Prime Minister Najib Mikati rejected talks aimed at addressing the issue, arguing that such a debate was useless given the challenges facing the country.
“This issue faced opposition and conflicts of opinion, and we don’t need to get into useless debates in these circumstances,” Mikati said at the start of a Cabinet session last week.
Sleiman tweeted earlier this week that legalizing marriage outside religious institutions would open the way to abolishing sectarianism.
Baabda sources told The Daily Star that Sleiman would summon Mikati in the next few days to seek clarification on the subject.
Many ministers in the Cabinet have voiced support for the couple’s marriage but sources at the Grand Serail said that Mikati won’t place the issue on the Cabinet’s agenda as long as he is prime minister. Mikati’s stance has sparked outrage on social media sites over the weekend.