The issue of civil marriage has recently sparked a great debate in social circles. Opinions about it were divided between supporters and opponents, as it was rejected by the clergy, while it was supported by the currents of civil society, so we must know what is civil marriage?
Civil marriage is a marriage contract between two partners documented in an official seat (the court), based on a mutual desire to establish a joint family, and it is registered in the state records, and it is completely subject to the legal rules set by the legislator, which individuals may not violate. This contract eliminates the rights of both spouses and eliminates all religious and sectarian differences between a man and a woman who want to marry each other. Civil marriage does not abolish religious marriage, but it remains personal freedom, i.e. in the presence of civil marriage, a person may choose a religious marriage or a civil marriage, even if the two parties are of the same religion, i.e. the so-called (optional civil marriage). This marriage is considered secular based on the principle of separation, the debt is on behalf of the state. It is an ordinary contract that is confirmed by the civil courts. Both parties can set the conditions they want without going back or submitting to any religious impediment, as long as their conditions are legal.
As for the institution of marriage in Syrian law:
The legislation regulating marriage still follows the Syrian Personal Status Law promulgated by Legislative Decree No. 59 of 1953, which is still in force despite its many disadvantages because this law is an extension of the law issued in 1917 by the Ottoman legislator in the Syrian and Lebanese territories. Although the Turkish state abolished it and replaced it in 1925 with the Turkish Civil Code, which is mainly derived from the Swiss Civil Code, Syria still adheres to it to this day, and its sources vary, but it can be attributed mainly to the provisions of the Hanafi school, and the newly amended Article 308 refers to Legislative Decree No. 76 of 2010 stipulates that it applies to the Christian and Jewish sects the religious legislative provisions of each sect related to engagement, conditions of marriage and its contract, follow-up, marital alimony, child alimony, nullity and dissolution of marriage, dissolution of bond, dowry, custody, inheritance and wills. As a result, Christians resort to their ecclesiastical laws in the area of personal status, while Muslims apply legislation derived from Islamic law, and members of the Druze community in Syria also resort to their own religious legislation. In addition to these legislations, religious courts vary according to the citizens’ religious and sectarian affiliation. There are spiritual courts for Christians, doctrinal courts for Druze, and Sharia courts for Muslims. Therefore, the system of personal status laws in Syria is characterized by its dedication to sectarianism and legal destabilization, as well as its continuous violations of basic human rights, especially religious freedom and equality between Citizens who have rights and duties before the law and the judiciary. This religious legislation is initially applied to non-believers of monotheistic religions, secularists, and even Baha’is, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and others belonging to religious minorities that are not officially recognized. The issuance of these legislations by clerics is an attack on the authority of the state, which is supposed to be the holder of the basic and exclusive right to legislate.
Will the dream of civil marriage ever come true in Syria?
It is not a new demand, but rather the demand of a large segment of the secular Syrian society, which wants a secular Syria and does not want it to go towards religious and sectarian extremism, but those who demand the civil marriage law, whether they are individuals, associations or youth groups, are subjected to a fierce campaign against them, and attack By clergymen of various sects, sects and religions, and all those who follow them, until the situation has reached the ex-communication of all those who demand civil marriage, and accusing him of atheism, despite the fact that more than once a vote is taken on the Internet and social networking sites to find out who is for or against the law Civil marriage, and there are many Syrians who want civil marriage so that every young man and woman can choose between civil marriage and religious marriage.
The transition to the civil marriage law requires intensive efforts and social and human rights awareness programs by civil society organizations and bodies and state institutions, and striving to change prevailing laws and concepts. The framework of individual or personal rights for the human being, that the civil marriage law does not mean chaos, permissiveness and violation of public values and morals, but rather legitimize and codify an existing and imposed reality and organize this reality in a legal framework, including the duty or the right of the state to formally intervene in the details and conditions of the marriage contract, Marriage has important consequences for children’s rights, inheritance, social guarantees, and negative complications of a divorce. Therefore, the state can impose rules and organize civil marriage contracts according to principles and principles that guarantee the protection of the rights of both parties, especially the rights of children and non-working women in the event that occurs in Syria.