UTJ warns against civil marriage legislation

MK Meir Porush (United Torah Judaism) called on Interim Justice Minister Meir Sheetrit to kill a bill permitting civil marriage Wednesday. The bill, drafted by former justice minister Haim Ramon, would allow citizens whose Jewish status is unclear according to Halacha to marry in a civil ceremony. "United Torah Judaism opposes any changes in the status quo," Porush said. "Any change would create a dangerous precedent that would lead to civil marriages for Jews." Hundreds of thousands of people who are not Jewish according to Halacha but who are entitled to citizenship under the Law of Return are unable to marry here. They are forced to travel abroad for a marriage ceremony that is recognized by the Interior Ministry. Asked if this situation is fair, Porush responded, "Israel is not France, it is not Britain. It is a Jewish state and one of the restrictions of living here is marrying according to Halacha." Sheetrit, one of the authors of the Kadima coalition agreement, personally supported a clause calling for the government to push civil marriage legislation.