"Dedicated to exposing the lies and impeachable offenses of George W. Bush"

Canada: court says state must recognize gay marriage
Haaretz Service
By Yuval Yoaz, Haaretz Correspondent and Haaretz Service
November 21, 2006

In a precedent-setting ruling, the High Court of Justice on Tuesday ruled that five gay couples wedded outside of Israel can be registered as married couples.

A sweeping majority of six justices to one ruled that the civil marriages of five gay couples obtained in Toronto, Canada, can appear as married on the population registry.

The gay petitioners sought to force the state to give equal recognition to common law marriages of heterosexual couples to those of gay marriages, which can be performed in certain countries.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel that filed the petition on the behalf of the couples, argued before the court that the Interior Ministry's refusal to register them as married compromises their right to equality and to hold family life, and is based on "homophobe social perceptions."

The court rejected the position of the State Attorney, that states recognizing single-sex marriages cannot expect Israel to recognize such nuptial agreements drawn in these countries.

The state told the High Court that "Israel lacks the appropriate legal framework for such marriages," and therefore it cannot register them.

After the ruling was issued, the Civil Rights Association said it is "all the more important in the wake of the [recent] public turmoil stirred by the gay pride parade in Jerusalem."

Itay Pinkas, a prominent member of the gay community who married his partner in Canada said in response: "This is an historical day for the [gay] community and for democracy. This is our real pride parade. We will keep battling for full equality in other areas."

The minister in charge over religious affairs, Yitzhak Cohen (Shas) said "the High Court has sunken in the gates of defilement and has torn out the last mezuzah from its doors. Marriage can only be held by the faith of Moses and Yisrael [the traditional Jewish marriage vows].

"The dam that protected the Jewish state has been burst open under the auspices of the High Court, asking for an anti-Jewish deluge clad in black capes," he said.

"We don't have a Jewish state here. We have Sodom and Gomorrah here," said Moshe Gafni, an ultra-Orthodox lawmaker, referring to two cities the Bible said was destroyed because their citizens were so sinful.

"I assume that every sane person in the State of Israel, possibly the entire Jewish world, is shocked, because the significance is... the destruction of the family unit in the State of Israel," Gafni told Army Radio.

Yossi Ben-Ari, who petitioned the court along with his partner, Loren Shuman, brushed off Gafni's comments as a continuation of the ultra-Orthodox "frenzy" against Israel's gay and lesbian community.

"This is only the beginning of the battle. The courts here are very progressive ... but the battle is for the face of society," Ben-Ari told Army Radio. "The battle for our rights doesn't end here, it is still very long."

Original Text