Court: Same-sex couple not defined as family

Judge says recognizing gay domestic abuse suit is "contrary to values of Israel as a Jewish state."

Gay Jerusalem (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
Gay Jerusalem
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
The Tel Aviv Family Court rejected on Sunday the domestic violence suit of a man who claimed his male partner harassed him, on the grounds that according to the court's interpretation, Israeli law does not define same-sex couples as a legitimate family. The judge based his decision on the wording of Israel's Declaration of Independence, which guarantees basic human rights based on the principles of the prophets of Israel. The couple had a full relationship and lived together for over two years. The claimant stated that his partner sent harassing letters to him, his family and co-workers after their break-up, and publicized fabricated accounts of their relationship. He claimed this activity damaged his family relationships as well as his status in the workplace. Judge Dr. Gershon Garman rejected the plea, reasoning that since the relationship was not originally public, the men were not financially dependent and their relationship seemed to have been based on sex alone, they cannot be defined as a couple. The judge further ruled that the law does not apply to a same-sex couple since it specifies "a female partner, known to the public as his wife." The judge additionally claimed that recognition of the man's suit "is contrary to the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish state." According to the judge, the problem lies in the wording of the law concerning the basic dignity and freedom of man. The first paragraph of the law states that human rights are to be respected according to the principles outlined in the proclamation of the state. The Declaration of Independence mandates "a Jewish state in the land of Israel that will be based on the principles of freedom, justice and peace, in the guiding light of the visions of the prophets of Israel." The prophets of Israel did not look favorably upon homosexual relationships. In a statement issued by the National Association of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered in Israel, Mike Hamel, the group's spokesperson, wrote: "This ruling proves exactly how much Israeli legislation is lacking and to what degree the court's rulings, progressive as they are, do not recognize the concept of a same-sex family. "It is the public's responsibility to continue to fight for the law's recognition of same-sex couples as families in every way, and that they receive the same rights and protection as Israeli law gives heterosexual families. Even if the judge decided that this couple does not fit the definition of a couple under the law, the excuse that the law of domestic violence does not apply to homosexuals is scandalous."