Jerusalem court recognizes couples in Zoom 'Utah weddings' to be registered as married

The Utah marriage is a wedding that is conducted in visual consultation with a marriage registrar in Utah and can also be conducted when both spouses are in Israel. 

 IN A DECISION announced earlier this week, the Lod District Court ruled that the Interior Ministry must recognize those civil marriages performed remotely via an online ceremony in Utah. (photo credit: Marzio Toniolo/Reuters)
IN A DECISION announced earlier this week, the Lod District Court ruled that the Interior Ministry must recognize those civil marriages performed remotely via an online ceremony in Utah.
(photo credit: Marzio Toniolo/Reuters)

Anyone in Israel who got married as part of the "Utah marriages" on Zoom must be recognized as married by the Interior Ministry, a Jerusalem court ruled on Thursday.

The court made the ruling after accepting the petition of Hiddush - for Freedom of Religion and Equality.

The Utah marriage is a wedding that is conducted in visual consultation with a marriage registrar in Utah and can also be performed when both spouses are in Israel. 

Hiddush filed the petition on behalf of eight couples who were married in Utah marriages but the Population Authority refused to register them as married on the order of then-Interior Minister, Rabbi Aryeh Deri.

Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman tweeted in response to the news: "'Utah married people' who were forced to get married via zoom in front of a marriage officiant in Utah because there are no civil marriages in Israel - a model that I am not satisfied with but welcome because it is a step on the way to a liberal state which is based on the 'live and let live' principle.

 FINANCE MINISTER Avigdor Liberman, as an opposition MK in 2020, conducts a civil marriage ceremony outside the Knesset.  (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) FINANCE MINISTER Avigdor Liberman, as an opposition MK in 2020, conducts a civil marriage ceremony outside the Knesset. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

"I call on the ombudsman not to appeal the decision and to respect the right of every person to choose how to marry," he continued.

Status of performing civil marriages in Israel

In February, then-Religious Services Minister Matan Kahana considered allowing Israelis to hold civil marriage ceremonies in foreign diplomatic missions in Israel.

Civil marriage is still not recognized in Israel.

Zvika Klein contributed to this report.