Friday, June 24, 2011

Israel's High Court Recognizes Civil Marriage By Proxy

Israel's High Court of Justice this week recognized a new route for Israeli's to enter a civil marriage.  Generally marriages in Israel must be performed by religious authorities, though individuals may travel abroad for a civil marriage which will then be recognized in Israel.  For Jewish Israelis, this has meant that the Orthodox rabbinate controls marriage in the country.  Haaretz reports that the High Court has now approved the marriages of 14 couples who were married by proxy in El Salvador without ever leaving Israel. Most of the marriages involved one partner who was a foreign worker or tourist who were concerned that they could not obtain re-entry if they left the country.  The Salvadoran procedure requires elaborate documentation and the hiring of two proxies to stand-in for the parties in El Salvador and two witnesses. Up to now, the only non-religious alternative available inside Israel has been civil union where both parties to the marriage have no religious affiliation. (See prior posting.)