AG Mazuz Recognizes Same Sex Couples

Attorney General Menachem Mazuz is reversing the policy of his predecessor and now recognizes same sex spousal unions when it comes to fiduciary matters, including taxation.

Former attorney general Elyakim Rubinstein, now a Supreme Court justice, had decided in March 2003 that same sex unions should not be recognized by the state.

Mazuz recently issued instructions not to appeal a Nazareth District Court decision that recognized a same sex union in deciding on an inheritance. According to Mazuz's decision, the partners in a same sex union will be treated the same as common-law spouses, which, despite there being no formal marriage, are considered a legal entity for matters of property. They will be recognized as such in matters of taxation and real estate, and allowed to transfer gifts between them without taxation, by virtue of their cohabitation.

A senior legal source said that the minute the "dam broke" over the issue of common-law spouses, it also covered homosexuals and lesbians. A source close to Mazuz said, "there must be distinctions made between various types of property, with an emphasis on pragmatism and flexibility, in the spirit of the times and the changing reality as well as personal status, which requires a more cautious approach and is usually a matter for the legislature."