A civil wedding between two refugees fleeing war in Syria, hailed as Greece’s first, will take place on the island of Lesvos in mid-August after it was nearly canceled because the would-be bride could not produce a birth certificate and an official document assuring that she is not already married back home.
The 20-year-old woman, identified as A.A., arrived on the eastern Aegean island with her family on December 27, 2016, and met her fiance, V.I., at the Kara Tepe camp. She is also pregnant with his child.
Following the bureaucratic kerfuffle that nearly scuppered their plans, the couple were given the green light by a magistrate who ruled that war constitutes extraordinary circumstances and A.A. could not be expected to produce the documents normally required by Greek law. “In such cases, the Greek state must show not just tolerance, but flexibility and an expansive spirit,” the magistrate said.