By Farah K. Yachouhi
June 1, 2016
As wedding season approaches, flights from Beirut to Cyprus do the dance every summer. Yes, couples go there to get married and a common misconception is that only couples who belong to different religious sects go there. In fact, couples who are from the same religious sect often go there too. Why do we need civil marriage? What good is it for?
Civil marriage is more often than not regarded by the bigger portion of our society as a “fake” marriage. What is civil marriage? Why is it not looked at as a legitimate bond? Isn’t it the first step towards building a civic nation rather than an ethnic one?
In the common definition of civil marriage, it is a contract that bonds one person to the other without a religious ceremony. However, in application, it does not really abolish the possibility of having a religious ceremony along with that contract. In Lebanon, today, civil marriages are still viewed by many as illegitimate marriages because they have not been blessed by a divine entity. What if we could bypass that? Would civil marriage be more accepted? What do we need civil marriage for?
A civil marriage does not necessarily mean disregarding spiritual or religious unions. It simply paves the way to a harmonious living and a civic nation rather than an ethnic one. More importantly, it helps in transforming religious beliefs from a system we are born into to a true spiritual journey.
Religious ceremonies performed by priests or sheiks, where such a bond is rendered holy, can still take place in conjunction with a civil marriage. What the latter really does is encourage people to explore their individuality and spirituality away from dogma. It helps break the invisible yet so rigid walls we have virtually built stronger and more stubborn throughout the past few decades. Walls that have separated us as one people and still do to this day. Ethnic conflict lurks within our sleeping nation. When will this nation wake up from its nightmare? When will it realize it is asleep?
Please share this article with all your friends who, like you, are looking forward to living in a civilized Lebanon!
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