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Israel Must Recognize Utah Online Marriages, Supreme Court Rules

Published Thursday, Mar. 16th, 2023

Israel’s Supreme Court has ruled that Israeli couples are allowed to marry using Utah County’s online marriage services, and that these civil marriages must be legally recognized. 


The decision upholds an earlier ruling issued by a district court, and ends a lengthy legal battle that began in December of 2020, when the country’s Interior Ministry refused to register the marriages of couples married online in Utah. 


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


It also marks a turning point for the future of civil marriage in the country. Although it’s already being denounced by religious leaders, the win ensures that any Israeli couple can be legally married by a Utah wedding officiant without leaving home, regardless of their faith or cultural background. (via The Times of Israel)


Until now, only Orthodox Jewish couples could be married in Israel, where strict religious marriage laws are enforced by the conservative Interior Ministry. Only civil marriages solemnized in other countries could be legally recognized. 


This meant that all non-Orthodox couples were required to leave the country in order to get married – including LGBTQ+ couples, interfaith couples, binational couples, immigrants, converts to Judaism, and many others. After the ceremony, the couple could return home to register their marriage.


But if traveling abroad was too expensive, dangerous, or otherwise impossible for a non-Orthodox couple, they were simply unable to get married.  


Marriage equality and human rights advocates have fought for civil marriage in Israel for decades without much success. But when Utah County launched a fully-online marriage service in early 2020 at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, things changed.


Suddenly, couples anywhere in the world could be married in an affordable virtual ceremony by a Utah wedding officiant. They could apply for their marriage license, take their vows, and have their license signed online – all they needed was internet access and an email address. 


Dozens, and then hundreds, of couples took advantage of Utah County’s revolutionary virtual marriage portal. The service was especially valuable to couples who couldn’t travel due to COVID-19 protections and restrictions, and to LGBTQ+ or interfaith couples living in countries that forbid non-traditional forms of marriage. 




When Israel’s Interior Ministry refused to register marriage licenses issued remotely by Utah County in December of 2020, several couples who were married online filed a lawsuit in their defense. 


Last week’s ruling by the Supreme Court puts an end to this lengthy legal battle, ensuring that all online marriages performed in Utah are legally recognized in Israel.  

Get the full scoop in Jeremy Sharon’s article for The Times of Israel. 





Read Next: 


How to Get Married in an 
Online Wedding Ceremony in Utah


Learn the basics of legal online marriage, including how to find a wedding officiant, apply for your Utah County marriage license, arrange a video-conference appointment, and other requirements. Plus tips for planning a memorable virtual wedding!


Read the full article here. 



Bride and groom smile and embrace while using a laptop for an online wedding ceremony in Utah



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Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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