BEIRUT — Several Lebanese MPs proposed a unified personal status law to the Lebanese Parliament on Monday.
The law proposal was worked on in partnership with the KAFA (enough) Violence and Exploitation NGO, an organization that works towards ending violence against women, the NGO announced on Dec. 14.
Among the MPs who signed this draft law are Kataeb MP Samy Gemayel; Michel Douaihy, who quit the Forces of Change bloc in October; Lebanese Forces MP George Okais; MP Farid Boustany, who belongs to the Free Patriotic Movement group though he's not a member of the Aounist party; Progressive Socialist Party MP Bilal Abdallah; and Forces of Change MPs Paula Yacoubian, Firas Hamdan, Elias Jaradeh and Marc Daou, according to a tweet shared by KAFA.
Gemayel tweeted Monday that with a “unified personal status law, we do not only take the country towards true citizenship, but we also protect women and men.”
Lebanon lacks a civil code regulating personal status matters, such as marriage, inheritance and child custody, and so relies on 15 separate personal religious-based status laws and courts for the 18 recognized sects.
Gemayel added that this law aims at protecting citizens from “the abuse they suffer.”
Yacoubian stated in a press conference at the Parliament building in Downtown Beirut that the proposed law aims to lead “to national fusion.”
During the same event, Okais said that "the unified personal status law proposal has nothing to do with politics or religion, and I warn against demonizing it, and it is better to come late than never."
For his part, Douaihy stated "the proposed law achieves equality in the family, eliminates sectarian pluralism, promotes citizenship, and replaces paternal authority with parental authority, and custody is shared between the mother and father, and the spirit of this law is always in the interest of the child."
Gemayel meanwhile said, “We hope to reach an achievement within the Parliament,” adding that “this law does not prevent any person from marrying a religious person and living his faith, but it provides guarantees for the Lebanese citizens regardless of their sects.”