Is Israel Really Progressive? Supreme Court Rejects Gay Marriage Petition

Published August 31st, 2017 - 02:02 GMT
The fight to have LGBT marriages recognized has hit a hurdle in Israel. (AFP/File)
The fight to have LGBT marriages recognized has hit a hurdle in Israel. (AFP/File)

The Israeli Supreme Court rejected on Thursday a petition by the Israeli Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Association to recognize same-sex marriage.

Justices Elyakim Rubinstein (former deputy to the president), Neal Hendel and Anat Baron rejected the claim made in the petition that according to interpretations of the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty, same-sex marriage should be recognized, and stated that there is no contradiction in the state’s current position regarding this issue.

The justices added that it is up to the legislators to determine regarding this matter, and not the Supreme Court.

It was stated in the verdict that because the Israeli law sees the rabbinical courts as the only authority when it comes to Jewish marriage in Israel, the appeal is wrong in its basis, because the Supreme Court is a civil court, and not a rabbinical one.

“Essentially, the petitioners are asking from the court to recognize same-sex marriage via legislation, despite the fact that they are not recognized by the Israeli law,” the verdict reads. 

“On the matter of recognizing marriage that was not conducted in accordance to the religious law - and same-sex marriage among it - it was ruled [by the court] in the past that it is better that the issue would be determined by the legislative branch.”

The justices mentioned in the verdict that they are aware of the trend of recognizing same-sex marriage in the western world, and that in some countries - like the US - it was done through a Supreme Court decision. However, they stated that in most world counties, such as Canada, France, Spain, New Zealand and Sweden, it was done through the parliament.


Chen Arieli, chairwoman of the Israeli Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Association, said that it is saddening that in such an important case, the Supreme Court decided to hand the issue back to the legislator and make it a political one.

“The history of the LGBT struggle in Israel shows the importance of legal precedences, and we have nothing but to be sorry about this decision,” she said.

“However, it is important to read between the lines and see the message from the justices decisions - it indicates unequivocally on the discrimination and the injustice in the current situation,” she added. 

Arieli said that her struggle will continue. As the protests regarding the issue of same-sex adoption succeeded, activists will now shift their efforts to influence politicians on the issue of marriage.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

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