Supreme Court rejects petition to recognize same-sex marriage

Justices stated that the issue should be determined by legislators, not the court.

August 31, 2017 15:38
2 minute read.
Supreme Court rejects petition to recognize same-sex marriage

Man holds a Star of David rainbow flag at the 2017 Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


The High Court of Justice 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 that according to interpretations of the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty, same-sex marriage should be recognized. They said there is no contradiction in the state’s current position regarding this issue.

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

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 the country, the appeal is wrong in its basis because the High Court is a civil court, 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 Israeli law,” the verdict read. “On the matter of recognizing marriage that was not conducted in accordance to the religious law – including same-sex marriage – it was ruled [by the court] in the past that it is better that the issue be determined by the legislative branch.”

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

Chen Arieli, chairwoman of the IGLBT Association, said it is saddening that in such an important case, the 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 can only be sorry about this decision,” she said.

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

Arieli said 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.

Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On said now that the Supreme Court justices have given the responsibly to the Knesset, is it time that legislators will act to provide same-sex couples the option to be legally married.

“We should say it in a clear voice, once and for all, that LGBT couples have the right to get married just like anyone else in the country,” she said. “They are equal, and this outrageous discrimination against them is a disgrace for a democratic state.”

Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid said in an interview to Army Radio: “I will vote for same-sex marriages. In 2017, a father and father and a mother and mother are families. We don’t want to live in darkness.”

Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France
April 20, 2019
Jerusalem lights its Notre Dame with French colors in solidarity