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Israeli couples who used Utah’s online marriage portal win legal victory in court

Published Thursday, Jul. 14th, 2022


A court in Israel has ruled that online marriages must be honored by the country’s Interior Ministry, including those performed through Utah County’s online marriage service here in the U.S.  

 

This is a big win for Israeli couples who are otherwise forbidden to marry in Israel because of strict religious laws enforced by the conservative Interior Ministry. 

 

Currently, only Orthodox Jewish marriages are allowed in Israel. All non-Orthodox couples must leave the country to legally wed, including all LGBTQ+ couples, interfaith couples, binational couples, immigrants, converts to Judaism, and many others.
 
Virtual weddings, like those provided by Utah County’s fully-online marriage portal, give these couples a safe and affordable alternative to marrying abroad. Dozens of Israeli couples have married this way since Utah’s virtual services first became available in early 2020. 

 

Related: Utah becomes first state to allow international virtual Zoom wedding for partners living in different countries


But in 2021, Israel’s Interior Ministry took issue with online marriages, and refused to register any marriages solemnized this way. Several couples joined forces with a civil rights advocacy group, and filed a lawsuit challenging the Ministry’s decision to invalidate their unions.

 

As of last week, it appears they’ve won the right to marry online! At least for now. 

 

If the court’s decision holds (and we hope it does), it will be a step toward marriage equality for all couples in Israel, and virtual weddings will continue to provide couples with a reliable, safe, affordable and legal way to marry – without leaving home. 

 


Related: Israeli couples used Utah’s online marriage portal to avoid discrimination, creating a legal battle back home

 

 


Get the full scoop in Ron Kampeas's article for Forward. 

 


Read next:

 

A Guide to Virtual Wedding Ceremonies in Utah:

For Officiants & Couples
 

Perform a remote, online wedding in Utah, or apply for & sign the marriage license digitally! Utah County's fully online system for weddings is the first of its kind in the country, and around the world. A complete guide to virtual videoconference weddings in Utah, for officiants and couples.

 

 

Photo of the Utah state flag, extended against a blue sky

 

 

LEARN MORE

 


 

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Stylized illustration of a couple kissing on a laptop screen during an online virtual wedding ceremony

Illustration by Jessica Levey

from Plan a Virtual Wedding Ceremony with Special Readings

 


 


Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves digging into the history and magic of ritual, exploring the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She’s an advocate for marriage equality and individuality. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys easy hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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