Opinions on Reforming the Citizenship Law in Lebanon
One piece of law reform that civil society groups in Lebanon have been actively trying to push is related to the citizenship law. According to the Lebanese law, the Lebanese nationality is only passed by the father with only a few applicable exceptions. As such, Lebanese women who are married to foreign men are prohibited by the current citizenship law from passing their nationality to their family members while the same law allows Lebanese men who are married to foreign women to automatically transfer their nationality to their spouses and children. In the SWMENA survey, we asked respondents if they supported keeping the citizenship law as it is or if they supported changing the law to allow Lebanese women to pass their nationality just as men do. Survey results suggest that there is an overwhelming public support for reforming the citizenship law.
At least eight in 10 women (82%) support reforming the citizenship law to allow Lebanese women to be able to pass their nationality to their spouses and children. While a large majority of men (73%) also support changing the law, the level of support is less pronounced than among women. Indeed, over a quarter of Lebanese men would like to keep the citizenship law as it is while 18% of women maintain a similar position.
While a large majority of women from each sect supports reforming the citizenship law to allow Lebanese women to pass their nationality, Christian women stand out as being mostly supportive of this law reform with 86% saying they would like to change the law, compared with 80% of Druze women, 79% of Shia women and 78% of Sunni women (Figure 8).
When performing a similar breakdown of these results by men of different sects, we do not observe a statistically significant difference between them on their opinions towards the citizenship law in Lebanon.