Judge Who Denied Gay Father Entry to Israel Will Resign Early

Tomer Zarchin
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Tomer Zarchin

Family Court Judge Philip Marcus, who prohibited a gay father of twins from entering the country with his infant sons about a year ago, has announced his resignation.

Marcus, who issued some highly controversial rulings during his 15-year tenure, said he would retire in a few months, 10 years ahead of the official retirement age.

Philip MarcusCredit: Courts website

Marcus became a candidate for promotion to the Jerusalem District Court about two years ago. But shortly afterward, he refused to issue a standard legal order to permit a homosexual father - whose two infants were born to a surrogate mother in India - to take the DNA test confirming he was the babies' biological father. The test was a prerequisite for the children's naturalization as Israeli citizens.

This forced the father, Dan Goldberg, to wait with the twins for more than two months in India, where they had no citizenship or medical insurance. Without the test, it was impossible to give the infants Israeli citizenship and bring them into Israel.

Marcus ruled that he had no authority to issue the order, which family court judges have issued in dozens of similar cases in past years.

Marcus also said, "If it turns out that one of the [purported fathers] sitting here is a pedophile or serial killer ... the state must look into such issues."

"What guarantee do we have that these children will grow up to be productive citizens?" he added.

Retired Justice Eliezer Goldberg, a judiciary ombudsman, branded these comments as "unnecessary, offensive and inappropriate," after a gay rights advocacy group accused Marcus of discrimination based on sexual orientation.

On another occasion, Marcus ruled that a couple in the middle of divorce proceedings must stay in their apartment alternately until they sold it, even though the wife had nowhere else to stay.

In the case of a 9-year-old girl whose mother became religious, Marcus ruled that, during the girl's meetings with her divorced secular father, he must observe the Sabbath and refrain from traveling, watching television or doing anything else that was forbidden by Jewish law.