Ensuring Gay’s Rights to Property in Israel
Attorney General Menachem Mazuz and Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann attending a cabinet meeting last month. (Flash 90) del.icio.us Digg It! new
By Yuval Yoaz, Haaretz Correspondent
The state will continue to grant equal property and inheritance rights to members of gay and lesbian couples, even if the Knesset passes laws with the opposite intention, according to an internal memo sent by Attorney General Menachem Mazuz.
The memo was sent to Custodian General Shlomo Shahar. Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann is proposing legislation that would define common-law marriage as applying to heterosexual partners only. That definition contradicts the recommendations of a public commission headed by retired Supreme Court Justice Jacob Turkel, which proposed changing the wording of the inheritance law so that it applies to both gay and straight couples.
Haaretz has learned that after Friedmann’s revision was reported last week, the custodian general asked Mazuz to determine whether the justice minister’s decision to revert to the original "man and woman" formulation affects current Justice Ministry policy. Advertisement In 2004, after the Nazareth District Court ruled, in a landmark case, that the country’s inheritance laws should be applied equally to homosexual and heterosexual couples, Mazuz decided not to petition the High Court against the ruling. Instead, he announced that in property and financial matters, homosexual couples would enjoy the same status as their heterosexual counterparts. The custodian general opposed the court’s broadening of the definition of a couple.
Mazuz, in his letter to Shahar, stated that the approval of Friedmann’s amendment to the law "does not change the current law or legal rulings," adding that the committee’s intention was only to preserve the status quo. The attorney general instructed the custodian general to continue with its current policy of allowing inheritance claims by partners in a homosexual union.