On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Domestic Partnerships on Tuesday, January 1, 2013.

Marriage in Florida is limited to a man and a woman. divorce too. This means gay couples cannot legally marry in Florida. Their unions are not recognized either. What about gay divorces? While the issue of gay marriage appeared in the presidential elections, and is a hot topic in other states, there has not been a lot of news about the issue of gay divorce anywhere.

However, a Family Court in Ramat Gan, Israel corrects this omission. The Family Court last week approved a divorce between Professor Uzi Even and Dr. Amit Kama, two gay men. This is not the only first for Mr. Even, he is also the first openly gay member of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset.

The decision is an important one, because Israeli law only recognizes marriages performed under the auspices of religious courts. In Israel, gay couples are forbidden to marry. Instead, gay couples marry in civil ceremonies in other countries, or simply don’t marry. Unlike Florida however, their marriages are recognized in Israel when they return from abroad.

Israel’s Interior Ministry can try to veto the Family Court decision. The ministry would have to go to court in order to do so. A few years ago, the Israeli Supreme Court forced the Interior Ministry to recognize same sex marriages performed abroad, and ordered the government to list a gay couple wed in Canada as married. Same sex marriages are performed in Israel, but they have no formal legal status. As the Israeli paper Haaretz reports:

“The irony is that while this is the beginning of a civil revolution, it’s based on divorce rather than marriage,” newly divorced Kama, a senior lecturer in communications in the Emek Yizrael College, told Reuters. He and Even, both Israelis, married in Toronto in 2004, not long after Canada legalized same sex marriage. They separated last year, Kama said. It took months to finalize a divorce as they could not meet Canada’s residency requirements to have their marriage dissolved there. At the same time in Israel, rabbinical courts in charge of overseeing such proceedings threw out the case, Kama said.

By winning a ruling from a civil court, Kama and Even may have also set a precedent for Israeli heterosexual couples, who until now have had to have rabbis steeped in ancient ritual handle their divorces, legal experts say.

“This is the first time in Israeli history a couple of Jews are obtaining a divorce issued by an authority other than a rabbinical court, and I think there is significant potential here for straight couples” to do so as well, said Zvi Triger, deputy dean of the Haim Striks law school near Tel Aviv.

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