Supreme Court of Israel unanimously rules no legal basis for gays to “marry” under civil law

JERUSALEM The Supreme Court of Israel has unanimously rejected same-sex “marriage.”

The ruling justices handed same-sex “marriage” supporters a major defeat Thursday, shooting down arguments for legalization by the Israeli Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Association.

The association claimed the country’s “Basic Law of Human Dignity and Liberty” (Basic Law) should be reinterpreted to open the doors to same-sex “marriage.” But instead, the court found that “to all intents and purposes, Israeli civil law does not recognize same-sex marriage.”

“[T]he petitioners’ request to have the civil court rule on something under the jurisdiction of the rabbinical courts, which applies under certain conditions, is not applicable here,” Justice Elyakim Rubinstein wrote in his opinion. “Instead, the request is based on establishing as an essential precondition that marriage between two individuals of the same gender exists in Israeli law, and it does not.”

Israeli law does not recognize civil marriage of any sort. Rather, all marriages are performed under the framework of Jewish, Muslim or Christian religious law.

“In essence, the petitioners are asking the court to recognize same-sex marriage via court ruling, despite the fact that Israeli law does not recognize it,” Rubinstein wrote. “Regarding the possibility of recognizing marriages which are not performed under religious auspices, including same-sex marriage, there already is a ruling that such recognition is the purview of the legislative body.”

Rubinstein stressed that the Basic Law cannot be legitimately applied or reconfigured to accommodate same-sex “marriage.”

“The section on law preservation was intended from the start to protect, among other things, the right of rabbinical courts to rule,” he said. “The petitioners’ view of the requested support as commentary, as opposed to partial dismissal, is an attempt to circumvent the law’s essential ruling in section 10 and to receive constitutional support for exactly that which those who wrote the Basic Laws clearly intended not to allow.”

The ruling represents a stunning setback for Israeli gay activists.

Israel is renowned for its permissiveness on homosexuality. The country struck down its sodomy laws in 1963 and fully legalized same-sex sexual relations in 1988.

In 2014, Israel amended its Law of Return, which provides citizenship for anyone considered Jewish, to include non-Jewish, same-sex partners. “The gates of Israel will be open to every Jew and his family without any discrimination against his lifestyle,” Interior Minister Gidon Sa’ar proclaimed when announcing the government’s decision.

In June 2016, a survey of Israeli voters found that 76 percent support legalization of same-sex “marriage.”

In 1993, Tel Aviv, Israel’s financial and cultural capital, hosted its first “gay pride” parade. In recent years, the city has become one of the world’s leading homosexual hotspots. It is widely-regarded as the “gay capital” of the Middle East, as was recently described by the Boston Globe as the “gayest city on earth.”  In June, Tel Aviv hosted the Middle East’s largest-ever march, celebrating the homosexual lifestyle with more than 200,000 attending from around the world.

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