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Despite the French-inspired Lebanese Constitution's attempt to distance Lebanon from its pre-colonial Ottoman history and place it on the "path to progress," Ottoman law was far more progressive in terms of women's rights.
Under Ottoman law, an adult woman was able to enter into contracts and use the court system independent of her husband, in addition to exercising other rights that were denied to her under the new, French-inspired legal code.
As a result, a child is considered Lebanese only if his father is Lebanese.
A woman who chooses to take her husband's citizenship may later reclaim her Lebanese citizenship following her husband's death or the dissolution of her marriage, which is an improvement upon the prior law that automatically stripped a woman of her citizenship upon marriage to a foreigner.However, because Lebanese citizenship is paternally linked, men are never at risk of losing their citizenship, always enjoy the right of passing their citizenship onto their children, and may even pass their citizenship on to their foreign wives.As an American woman currently in a relationship with a Lebanese man, I am thankfully not affected by this law.However, while France, along with the majority of the West, made reforms in this area in the 1960s, Lebanon continues to enforce France's archaic laws.Many Lebanese regard the situation as both humiliating for women and for Lebanon as whole, particularly since Lebanon has long prided itself on being at the vanguard of reform in the Middle East, especially reform related to the personal status of women.
Citizenship rights have real implications for many Lebanese men, women, and children, as it is estimated that some 18,000 women married foreign men in Lebanon between 19.