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January 30, 2013

Debate over civil marriage in Lebanon

Online spar between government leaders creates wider discussion.
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Lebanese activists dressed in wedding outfits, dance as they take part in "Chaml" (union) campaign to demand the legalization of civil marriages during a gathering in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, 18 March 2010. In most of the countries of the Middle East, ci
Lebanese activists dressed in wedding outfits, dance as they take part in "Chaml" (union) campaign to demand the legalization of civil marriages during a gathering in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, 18 March 2010. EPA/WAEL HAMZEH


A heated debate erupted online among Lebanese netizens after President Michel Suleiman tweeted his support for legislation that would enable civil marriages in Lebanon. Following his tweets, the top Sunni Muslim authority, Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani, issued a fatwa, or decree, condemning civil marriages because they would be issued from a non-religious authority.

Lebanon's Prime Minister Najib Mikati also participated in the online debate, saying consensus was necessary before any "top down" government action on the matter. Lebanese netizens reacted passionately to all the sparring between public officials.
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