A little more background.Hundreds of Israeli evangelical couples have traveled out of the country in order to get married because the Jewish government does not officially recognize their faith. Church leaders are escalating efforts to change that.
The Council of Evangelical Churches in Israel (CECI), which includes 51 churches and organizations such as Campus Crusade and the Bible Society, formally requested in August 2011 that Israel recognize four denominations on behalf of nearly 5,000 followers. More than a year later, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—who must approve the request—has yet to respond, says Michael Decker, chief counsel for the Jerusalem Institute of Justice (JIJ). "Not being recognized leads to practical problems," said Botrus Mansour, director of Nazareth Baptist School, regarding marriage, divorce, and education matters. "We hope a lawsuit will [help]."
If their religious organizations are not recognized, it's not clear to me why they cannot obtain civil marriages. I think there are several pieces to this puzzle missing.For the first time in its 62-year history, Israel will soon allow a limited number of couples to marry in civil ceremonies. The Civil Union Law, which received final parliamentary approval this week, applies only to couples who have no legal affiliation with an organized religion.
Until now, all Israeli marriages had to be performed as religious unions in order to be recognized by the state. Jews, Muslims, Christians and others wishing to marry first had to register with their respective religious authorities.
But I find it interesting how so many Evangelicals here don't want same-sex couples to marry for religious reasons, and such logic is coming back to bite Israeli Evangelicals. I support both homosexuals and Israeli Evangelicals in their efforts to obtain marriage rights.