Israel, too? Supreme Court in Holy Land to hear 'gay marriage' case in late May

JERUSALEM (BP)--Israel's Supreme Court has announced it will hear a "gay marriage" case in May, raising the possibility that the land where Christ once walked will recognize "marriage" between homosexuals.

The announcement, reported first by the homosexual news service 365Gay, comes as more and more countries worldwide redefine marriage. Canada, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands have legalized "gay marriage," and South Africa is expected to follow suit this year. Oral arguments before the Israeli court will take place May 28, according to the news service.

The Israel case involves a handful of homosexual couples who were "married" in Canada and returned to Israel, where they filed suit to have their "marriages" recognized there. The couples' attorney apparently is asking only that out-of-country "gay marriages" be recognized, and not that Israel itself grant licenses to homosexual couples. Nevertheless, that would be a significant liberalization of its marriage law -- and a very significant win for homosexuals in the Holy Land. Marriage law in Israel is defined by Orthodox Jewish law.

By contrast, the United States has a law that prevents the federal government from recognizing "gay marriage," even if an individual state legalizes it.

"Israeli straight couples who marry overseas have their marriages recognized by the [Israeli] ministry of the interior regardless of whether they are able or not to marry each other in Israel," the couples' lawyer, Onn Stock, told 365Gay.

The Israeli Supreme Court has sided with homosexuals before. Last year, it ruled that two lesbians who live together may adopt each other's children. The children were conceived by donated sperm.

"Israel is not as conservative in some of its policies as people may think," Carrie Gordon Earll, senior policy analyst for Focus on the Family Action, told Baptist Press. "They allow embryonic stem cell research and are tinkering with cloning."

Glen Lavy, an attorney with the Christian legal group Alliance Defense Fund, dismissed the argument that the Israeli couples -- or homosexual couples anywhere -- are discriminated against in marriage laws based on "sexual orientation."

"The law is totally neutral on sexual orientation when it comes to marriage laws," he told Baptist Press. "A man cannot marry a man, regardless of his sexual orientation."

In other words, Lavy said, if a black person charges racial discrimination, "the assumption is [he] would not be the subject of discrimination" if he could change his skin color. But the same argument cannot be made with homosexuality.

"No one asks, 'What is your sexual orientation?'" Lavy said. "If changing the sexual orientation cannot change the outcome, then it's not sexual orientation discrimination."

Borrowing an argument first advanced by the National Legal Foundation, Lavy added: "It takes sodium and chloride to make salt. If you add sodium to sodium, you don't have salt. If you add chloride to chloride, you don't have salt.... It takes a man and a woman to make babies."

Earll said the case proves that "gay marriage" laws in one country can put pressure on other countries. Such cases, she said, are not simply isolated but are "international issues."

"What one country does does affect the other," she said. "This is another reason why, in the U.S., we need an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, defining marriage as one man and one woman. Without that, you could have the same thing happen here with different states. You could have someone marry in Canada or Spain come to Tennessee and say, 'We want Tennessee to recognize our marriage.'"


For more information about the national debate over "gay marriage," visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage

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