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Court approves second gay divorce in Israeli history

A Tel Aviv Family Court has ended the same-sex marriage of two Israelis for only the second time in the country’s history – though it stopped short of recognizing that the marriage had existed
Tel Aviv District Court
Photo by Sambach

Tel Aviv Family Court Judge Naftali Shilo annulled a same-sex couple’s overeas marriage on Monday – the second time a same-sex married couple have been allowed to divorce in Israel - though he avoided setting a precedent.

Shilo declared the unnamed couple divorced but did so in such a way as to avoid recognizing them as being any way married in Israel.

However if this and a previous same-sex divorce at the Tel Aviv Family Court in December if last year are followed by others, some legal experts believe it could lend weight to a court eventually legalizing same-sex marriage in Israel.

‘It is important because with no binding precedent, another decision in this spirit plus additional such decisions can start to create more of a clear trend,’ Professor Ruth Halperin-Kaddari of the Rackman Center for the Advancement of the Status of Women told the Jerusalem Post.

Israel has recognized same-sex marriages performed outside of Israel since a High Court of Justice decision in 2006 in which the court ordered Israel’s population registrar to record the overseas marriages of five couples who had married in Canada.

Within Israel only heterosexual couples may marry and marriage is controlled by religious institutions.

Several proposals to create civil marriages for gay and straight couples have been proposed but governing coalition partner Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) have said they will veto any reform around same-sex marriage.

Earlier this month Israeli President Shimon Peres said he supports gay marriage but his is largely a ceremonial role.

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