Ministry studies personal status law for non-Muslims

In light of the ongoing crisis over divorce and remarriage among Copts, a Justice Ministry committee convened on Sunday to discuss a personal status draft law proposed by the Coptic Church to regulate issues pertaining to marriage.

“The law must not contravene God’s orders in this regard,” declared Justice Minister Mamdouh Marei. “No one has the right to interfere in a person’s faith.”

The Coptic, Catholic and Anglican churches all have representatives on the committee.

A Coptic Church source said that Coptic Pope Shenouda III was “skeptical” about the Anglican Church’s position on the draft law, since the Anglican Church was known for its secular beliefs that allow divorce for reasons other than adultery. The Coptic Church, by contrast, considers adultery the only justification for divorce.

Anglican Church committee representative Reverend Ikram Lamei requested that the draft law allow civil marriages and that the church recognize such marriages and the children of civilly married couples.

Meanwhile, scores of Copts staged demonstrations in front of the parliament building against last month’s administrative court ruling obliging the Coptic Church to allow its followers to divorce and remarry, contending that this was against biblical teachings.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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