Barak Attacks Marriage Laws, Supports Same-Sex Marriage

Former Israeli Supreme Court Chief Justice opines that the nation's marriage laws infringe human rights, calls for same-sex marriage.

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Ari Yashar,

Aharon Barak
Aharon Barak
Knesset Channel

Aharon Barak, former Israeli Supreme Court Chief Justice, leveled accusations that Israel's marriage laws are a "clear violation of basic human rights," and went on to support same-sex marriage.

The statements appear in selected highlights from Barak's forthcoming book "Human Dignity: The Constitutional Right and its Derivatives," published on Hiddush's website. 

Barak claims that Israel's marriage laws, based in Jewish religious law, infringe on constitutionally derived rights in certain situations when they prevent Israelis from marrying.

He further writes that a law preventing same-sex marriage is a violation of "human dignity." Jewish law explicitly forbids such marriages.

The former Chief Justice was involved in instituting the Family Courts Law in 1995, his first year as president of the Supreme Court. This law established a new category of civil courts adjudicating in family issues such as divorce, and thereby competing with the existing religious courts' authority in marital issues.

The statement comes at a time when Israeli marriage laws are in the headlines, as the Knesset passed its second and third reading Monday night of a law, known as the "Tzohar Law," designed to allow couples to choose rabbis from any city or town in the country.

The law was passed by 57 MKs in favor and 14 against. All opposing votes were cast by MKs from hareidi parties who have been opposed to the legislation.

Barak is noted for his policy of judicial activism viewed by many Israelis as an usurpation of power from the government by the judiciary.