Sept. 14 (UPI) — Muslim women in Tunisia will now be allowed to marry non-Muslims after the government there lifted a ban on the practice Thursday.
Last month, Tunisia President Beji Caid Essebsi called for an end to the ban, which had been in place since 1973. Essebsi said the ban violated the country’s new constitution, which was implemented in 2014 after the Arab Spring uprising, reported Al Jazeera.
Human rights groups had also been campaigning against the ban, which they say was violated a woman’s basic human right to marriage freedom, reported Al Araby. The ban required which non-Muslim men to convert to Islam and show a certificate of conversion if he wished to marry a Muslim woman.
“Congratulations to the women of Tunisia for the enshrinement of the right to the freedom to choose one’s spouse,” presidency spokeswoman Saida Garrach wrote on Facebook on Thursday.
The lifting of the marriage ban comes soon after another important step towards equality for women. In July, the Tunisian government passed a law heralded by human rights groups that added protections to domestic abuse victims and provided further assurances that abusers would be prosecuted.