On Saturday, the United Arab Emirates announced changes to the country’s Islamic personal laws, loosening lifestyle restrictions, the Associated Press reports.
The changes will result in unmarried couples being allowed to live together, significantly less strict alcohol restrictions, and the criminalization of “honor killings.”
Among the changes are eliminating penalties for alcohol consumption, sales, and possession for people over 21. Previously, individuals needed a government-issued license to purchase alcohol or keep it in their homes. Unmarried couples will be permitted to live together legally — previously a crime in the UAE — and attempted suicide will also be decriminalized. Perhaps most significantly, laws defending “honor crimes” are also getting the axe. These laws allowed men to avoid prosecution for assaulting a female relative when they were considered to be dishonoring their family.
The UAE’s population consists of 90 percent of expatriates who are anticipated to welcome the looser rules as much as the locals. The changes take effect immediately.