Israeli Supreme Court Requires Recognition of Gay Marriage:

In a recent decision, the High Court of Israel has ruled that the Israeli government must recognize gay marriages contracted by its citizens abroad and extend to them the same benefits granted to heterosexual marriages. The decision does not mean that Israeli gays and lesbians can enter into homosexual marriages in Israel itself. The Israeli state does not have any system of civil marriage, and - to my knowledge - none of the state-certified religious authorities (Jewish, Muslim, and Christian) endorse gay marriage. Moreover, the decision is based on statutory interpretation rather than constitutional grounds (Israel does not have a written constitution). Therefore, the Knesset (Israeli parliament) could potentially override the holding by amending its marriage recognition law.

However, under the new decision, Israeli citizens can enter into gay marriages in foreign jurisdictions that allow them (such as Canada, Massachusetts, and some European countries), and have them recognized by the Israeli state. Given the large number of Israelis who travel and/or live abroad, it is likely that many Israeli gays and lesbians will be able to take advantage of the court's decision. And while the Knesset can indeed override the decision if it chooses to do so, it is far from clear that such a measure can get through Israel's fractious parliament anytime soon.

In any event, as Andrew Sullivan points out: "The contrast with the murderous homophobia in the Arab-Muslim Middle East could not be starker."