Transgender refuses to grant divorce, claims he is a woman

Haifa Rabbinical court forces transgender person to grant wife a get, despite his claiming he could not give it as he is a woman.

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Yoel Domb,

Rabbinical Court
Rabbinical Court
Flash 90

Two persons recently came to the Haifa Rabbinical Court fighting over a divorce. It turned out that one of them had undergone a sex-change operation. They married as a normative husband and wife and raised their children together. When the husband was operated on a year ago, the couple separated. The wife could not move on and date and marry anyone else, because she was still halakhically married to her "husband" - who had not given her a get [divorce document].

After hearing the unusual situation, the rabbinical judges decided that it is sufficient reason for granting a get, and there is no need to insist on the usually mandatory conciliation counseling as it clearly would not lead to reconciliation. The court ordered the parties to begin the process of divorice.

The husbnd then claimed he could not grant a get because he is no longer a man but a woman, and a woman is unable to grant a get.

The wife requested an annulment of the marriage, but the judges said that would not be possible since she married a man who is still a man halakhically. The judges decided that the husband had to give a get and if he did not, would be considered a get refuser and would be imprisoned as allowed by law.

The husband eventually agreed to give the get, but during the process recanted and explained that it was an emotional strain to be related to in the text of the get as a male, criticizing the court for 'living in the Middle Ages'. After being warned again about possibly ending up in jail, s/he agreed to complete the process and give the get.