Supreme Court: Same-sex marriage is not a right

Court rejects claim that LGBTs have protected right to same-sex marriage, rules that law refusing recognition of gay marriage is legal.

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Shlomo Pyutrikovsky,

Israeli Supreme court
Israeli Supreme court
Flash 90

Supreme Court Justices Elyakim Rubinstein, Neal Handel, and Anat Baron on Thursday morning unanimously rejected the Israeli Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Association's demand that the Jewish state recognize same-sex marriages.

According to the Association, the Basic Law of Human Dignity and Liberty should be interpreted to allow same-sex marriage. At the very least, the petitioners claimed, the law not allowing same-sex marriage should not be constitutional.

"To all intents and purposes, Israeli civil law does not recognize same-sex marriage," the court said. "Therefore, the petitioners' request to have the civil court rule on something under the jurisdiction of the rabbinical courts, which applies under certain conditions, is not applicable here. Instead, request is based on establishing as an essential precondition that marriage between two individuals of the same gender exists in Israeli law, and it does not," Rubenstein wrote in his ruling.

"In essence, the petitioners are asking the court to recognize same-sex marriage via court ruling, despite the fact that Israeli law does not recognize it. Regarding the possibility of recognizing marriages which are not performed under religious auspices, including same-sex marriage, there already is a ruling that such recognition is the purview of the legislative body." In Israel, in a law unchanged since the days of the British Mandate, there is no civil marriage and all marriages are performed under Jewish, Christian or Muslim auspices.

Rubenstein emphasized that the "law preservation" section of the Basic Law of Human Dignity and Liberty is specifically intended to preserve issues regarding personal status. Therefore, he said, you cannot call upon this law in order to assist the petitioners.

"The section on law preservation was intended from the start to protect, among other things, the right of rabbinical courts to rule. The petitioners' view of the requested support as commentary, as opposed to partial dismissal, is an attempt to circumvent the law's essential ruling in section 10, and to receive constitutional support for exactly that which those who wrote the Basic Laws clearly intended not to allow."

In 2014, Israel extended the Law of Return which allows those considered Jewish to become citizens to include non-Jewish same-sex partners.