The Supreme Court of Israel has ruled same-sex marriage is not a right. The court’s judges unanimously rejected the Israeli Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Association’s case.
The group argued that the Basic Law of Human Dignity and Liberty should be interpreted to allow same-sex marriages. They had hoped that, at very least, the present law banning marriage equality would be ruled unconstitutional.
Public support for same-sex marriages has increased significantly from 64% in September last year.
Although Israel is considered one of the more progressive countries in the Middle East, tolerance for LGBT people has shrunk to a small area surrounding Tel Aviv.
Ruling on the case, Justices Elyakim Rubinstein said: “To all intents and purposes, Israeli civil law does not recognise same-sex marriage.
“Therefore, the petitioners’ request to have the civil court rule on something under the jurisdiction of the rabbinical courts, which applies under certain conditions, is not applicable here.
“Instead, request is based on establishing as an essential precondition that marriage between two individuals of the same gender exists in Israeli law, and it does not,” Rubenstein said.
“In essence, the petitioners are asking the court to recognise same-sex marriage via court ruling, despite the fact that Israeli law does not recognise it.
“Regarding the possibility of recognising marriages which are not performed under religious auspices, including same-sex marriage, there already is a ruling that such recognition is the purview of the legislative body.”
The Middle-Eastern country is usually considered progressive on LGBT rights.
In July of last year, a Pride event in the city of Beersheba has been cancelled after security concerns were raised.
Police said there was a threat of life-threatening violence at the event, and that participants might be forced to use violent measures to protect themselves.
Israel afforded more than $5 million towards a fund for LGBT community initiatives.
The money will be provided to various government ministries for initiatives set up to benefit LGBT Israelis. It will be stretched over the period of the next two years.