Former Supreme Court President: Israel's Marriage Laws Violate Basic Human Rights

In forthcoming book, Aharon Barak slams the fact that civil marriage - both same-sex and mixed faith - is not recognized in Israel.

Former Israeli Supreme Court President Aharon Barak has openly condemned Israel's marriage laws as a "violation of basic human rights."

In his forthcoming book "Human Dignity: The Constitutional Right and its Derivatives,"Barak discusses Israel's marriage policies, which are determined by religious law and thus, he says, infringe on the rights to human dignity, religious freedom and equality.

"Anyone who is unable to marry according to religious law, and anyone who does not want to marry according to religious law for their own reasons, cannot marry in Israel. Civil marriage is not recognized in Israel. This state of affairs violates the constitutional right to marry…The present law does not only violate the constitutional derived right to marriage, but it also often violates the derived right to freedom of conscience and freedom from religion."

Hiddush, an advocacy and public education organization that promotes religious freedom and equality, has published selected highlights of the book.

In it, Barak also addresses same-sex marriage. While same-sex marriage is recognized in Israel, like heterosexual mixed faith couples, it requires the act be done overseas and then the couple can be registered as married in Israel.

“A law that prevents two members of the same gender from entering a relationship of couplehood is a violation of the human dignity of each partner.”

The Knesset just passed a marriage reform bill Monday. The chance in registration became official with the passage of the so-called Tzohar Law. Israeli Jews seeking to get married will now be able to shop around for the municipal religious council that suits them best, rather than be forced to register their marriage in one of the partners' cities of residence.

Fifty-seven MKs voted in favor of the law, which formalizes a practice that is already prevalent in most of Israel's religious councils, and 14 ultra-Orthodox MKs voted against it. There was one abstention.