Two Gay Couples Ask High Court to Recognize Marriages
Two Gay Couples Ask High Court to Recognize MarriagesBy Yuval Yoaz, Haaretz Correspondent
Two homosexual couples who registered for civil marriage in Canada petitioned the High Court of Justice on Monday, asking that the Interior Ministry recognize their union.
The couples argues that the Interior Ministry’s refusal to recognize their marriage violates their rights to equal treatment and family life, and is based on "the outlook of a homophobic society."
The first couple are Yossi Ben-Ari, 51, a stage and costume designer, and Lorain Shcuman, 41, a translator of French literature into Hebrew. The two have been together since 1987, and married in Canada in November 2003. Their marriage certificate was approved by the Canadian Foreign Ministry, the Canadian embassy in Israel, and the Israeli consul in Toronto.
The second couple are Yosef Bar-Lev, 38, a folk-dancing instructor, and Yaron Lahav, 28, a personal trainer. The two met in May of 1998, and began living together in September of that year. In May of 2003, they were also married in Canada, and their marriage certificate was also approved by the Israeli consul in Canada, Avi Lev-Louis.
After they returned to Israel, the couples asked the Population Registry, a branch of the Interior Ministry, to register them as married in Israel. Last month, the director of registry’s Tel Aviv office replied to the two requests.
"As you know, marriages of this kind are not recognized as legal in Israel, and it is therefore not permitted to register you as requested," he wrote.
In their petitions, submitted by Dan Yakir of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the couples argue that according to the High Court’s rulings, the Population Administration cannot make use of religious considerations when approached to change a person’s status in its registry following an action recognized abroad, in spite of the fact that Israel does not recognize same-sex marriages that take place within the state.
The petitioners emphasize that the state prevents same-sex couples from marrying in their own country, where they are surrounded by their loved ones, and forces them to travel abroad.
This article appeared on March 28, 2005, in www.haaretz.com