Israel's Supreme Court today dismissed a petition filed by the state against an administrative court ruling instructing the registrar of the Population Registry to record marriages of couples who married through video conference calls and received marriage certificates from the State of Utah in the US.
The significance of today's ruling is that the Population Authority is obliged to register couples who married online overseas, even though they were physically in Israel during the wedding ceremony. "Utah marriages" are weddings through via a video conference call that are conducted in Utah, and have enabled hundreds of Israeli couples to marry at home without needing to travel to the US.
The three Supreme Court judges ruled unanimously that the registrar must record the marriages in the Population Registry.
The original petition to the administrative court had been filed by Hiddush for Religious Freedom & Equality together with eight couples who had married in a civil ceremony in Utah via Zoom.
Hiddush executive director Rabbi Uri Regev said, "We welcome the ruling of the Supreme Court, which opens another channel of marriage for the citizens and residents of Israel, in a reality where the State of Israel is the only Western democracy in the world that denies its citizens freedom of marriage, due to the demand of the religious parties."
He added, "It is important to understand that, on the one hand, the ruling is not a legal innovation, but a continuation of a consistent rule that the court has been following for 60 years. On the other hand, it is about opening wide gates for Israeli couples who want to exercise their right to marry, either because the State of Israel prevents from marrying or because it denies them the possibility of marrying in an egalitarian ceremony that suits their world view and lifestyle and this is due to the religious coercion that still exists in the country, contrary to the will of a large majority of the Jewish public in Israel."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on March 7, 2023.
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