Friday, November 19, 2004

Israel court: Inheritance law applies to gays

A court in Israel has ruled that lesbian and gay couples must also be recognized in the realm of inheritance tax -- the first time such a decision has been made in the country.

Nazareth District Court has ruled that same-sex couples can be included in inheritance laws, despite the existing legislation using the terms "man and woman" to describe a partnership.

The ruling follows a recent case where Kiryat Shmona was contesting a decision made by the Family Court, which barred him from inheriting his long-term partner's estate.

The couple had lived together for a number of years, and the now elderly man argued that their relationship should be recognized as being akin to marriage.

The case must now return to the country's Family Court, which is set to organize the changes needed for the case to push forward.

However, the government is expected to challenge the case, newspaper Ha'aretz claims.

The country's attorney general is expected to use the "man and woman" terminology to claim the case goes against the original intention.

However, it could lead to a radical overhaul of Israeli law, and push the country towards a greater acceptance of lesbian and gay couples.

An announcement is expected to be made by the Family Court later this month as to whether the ruling can be challenged.