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The 1998 Proposed Civil Marriage Law in Lebanon
The personal status of the Lebanese is governed by the respective laws of the country's eighteen recognized religious communities. Article 9 of the Lebanese constitution says that the State shall "safeguard for the citizens of whatever religion or sect, due respect to their personal status code and their spiritual interests.'" In addition to the Christian and Jewish communities, the Lebanese constitution recognizes three main Muslim communities, the Sunni, the Shiite and the Druze. Each of these communities possesses its own jurisdiction and sole competence in all matters of personal status. Personal status rules are primarily shari 'a based in that shari'a courts have jurisdiction with regard to the Sunni Hanafi and Shiite Ja'farl sects while the Druze have a Codified Personal Status Law promulgated in 1948 and amended in 1959. The various confessional laws, both Muslim and Christian, contain fundamental differences. Complications arising from having a variety of laws regulating the same issue is particularly acute in the context of marriage between persons belonging to different sects. In order to provide some remedy to this situation, the president of the republic presented the cabinet with a detailed draft of a facultative civil personal status code in February 1998.
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