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Queer couples in Israel have found a loophole to have their same-sex marriages recognised despite not being legal

Patrick Kelleher December 6, 2019
Gay Israel couple get married in Portugal because same-sex marriage is not legal in home country

Gay couple from Israel (YouTube)

A gay couple from Israel have opened up about their experience of getting married in Portugal because same-sex marriage is not legal in their home country.

Liran Buchny and Maor Shtern spoke to CBS This Morning about how they celebrated their wedding despite their country’s laws.

The couple – who met almost a decade ago while serving together in the Israeli army – travelled to Portugal with their families in August so they could have a legal wedding. Due to a legal loophole, Israel recognises same-sex weddings that take place in other countries where the practice is legal.

When they returned home, Israel was forced to recognise their marriage – despite the fact that they were not allowed to get legally married in their own country.

The gay couple later had a wedding celebration back home in Israel.

They are not alone – more than 400 Israeli same-sex couples got married abroad in 2018 in an effort to have their unions recognised by the state.

I think that just doing a big wedding in Israel, that’s our big statement. Not letting the system take you down.

The pair recently had an unofficial wedding ceremony back in Israel with all of their friends and family to mark the occasion.

The wedding celebration was hosted in a nightclub and they decided to incorporate Jewish traditions to make it feel authentic.

“I think that just doing a big wedding in Israel, that’s our big statement. Not letting the system take you down,” one of the men explained.

The men accused their home country of ‘pinkwashing’.

“In Tel Aviv, you have gay parties, you have gay pubs and bars, but sometimes it feels as if the government is using Tel Aviv or the gay community as a pinkwash,” one of the men told CBS This Morning.

He defined pinkwashing as the government’s efforts to present Israel as a “very liberal place” to the rest of the world.

“When you compare it to the other countries of the Middle East, yeah, it’s right,” he said.

While the couple could not have a legal wedding in their home country, they decided they wanted to host a celebration anyway to mark the occasion.

“Even if it’s not legal, we want all of our friends and families to be there and to keep the Jewish tradition,” one of the men said.

More: gay wedding, Israel, same sex marriage

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