Court Rejects Lesbians' Bid for Recognition as a Couple

A Tel Aviv family affairs court yesterday rejected a request from a lesbian couple to authorize an agreement recognizing them as officially living together so that they might get benefits from the state. The two, Anya Hakka and Nurit Liebman, requested recognition as a couple for purposes of a mortgage, transfering pension rights and other legal matters.

But Judge Yitzhak Shenhav, deputy court president, ruled that the two were not a "family" according to the accepted definition of the law and that therefore he could not hear the case or authorize an agreement. Earlier, the attorney-general had told the court the two did not fall under the category of "common-law wives" since the law does not recognize such a category between people of the same sex.

Hakka and Libman were married in Germany two years ago and received a marriage certificate there. The petition was presented to the court on their behalf by the New Family organization which hoped to get a precedent-setting ruling on the issue of family rights for gays and lesbians.