The United States Supreme Court ruling on Wednesday which annulled a law which defines marriage as an alliance between a man and woman was a joyous occasion not only for the millions of gays in the US, but also for some in Israel.
Avi, a dual citizen of Israel and the United States, married his boyfriend two years ago in New York but the two were forced to return to Israel since Avi's spouse was not eligible for citizen's rights, despite their marriage.
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But Wednesday's ruling may change their situation completely.
"After we were married we received a very nice certificate from New York's City Hall, but it was worth nothing," Avi said. "I really wanted to leave all the mess here in Israel, even though I did very well for myself here, but it always bothered us that my spouse didn't have an American citizenship.
"Until today, if he arrived in the US, he had no rights. He was a second-class citizen. So we decided to wait and see what happens. And now the US made a far-reaching move. There's no need for tricks anymore."
Celebrations in Washington (Video: Reuters)
By a 5-4 majority, the Supreme Court invalidated a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that restricted same-sex couples who were married in states which allow same-sex marriages from enjoying the same benefits as heterosexual ones.
Though the new ruling does not force the various states to allow same-sex marriage, it does solve the conflict between the states which do allow it and the federal authorities.
Celebration in the US (Photo: AP)
LGBT flag outside Supreme Court in Washington (Photo: AP)
Currently, Avi and his partner plan to move to the US and raise a child. "I've gotten tired of Israel, from how people behave and the authorities which abuse people who are just trying to lead normal lives," Avi said.
"All this religion stuff. Why should Bnei Brak care what happens in Tel Aviv? That's what the US Supreme Court said: We'll let you live your lives, just as your parents lived theirs."
'It's only love'
Gil Diamant married his partner two years ago in Tel Aviv, but naturally, their marriage was not granted the same status as a heterosexual marriage by the State. Therefore, last October they were married and registered in New York.
"We're registered as married in the Israeli Interior Ministry, but we don't have all the rights due to religious laws," Diamant said.
His spouse, Elad David, is an American citizen, and the new ruling made them reconsider immigrating to the US.
"We're discussing it," Diamant said. "As an academic and a biologist, I'm happy it will enable me to get citizenship and further my career. We may even run our lives on the Israel-US line. His family is there, and it will make it easier for us."
Diamant was glad about the ruling, which he called an "obvious victory," and added: "As an atheist, I'm overjoyed. The attempts to restrict same-sex couples from marrying are derived from a conservative, religious viewpoint.
"Letting everyone get married is a victory for commonsense over religious traditions which we are unable to shed.
"What are people afraid of? It's only love."
Gay dual-citizens are not the only ones who feel the ruling may change their lives, and even same-sex couples who plan to remain in Israel are examining how the ruling may ease their difficulties with State bureaucracy.
"We're still not sure whether the US ruling will have any influence over our situation if we continue to live in Israel," said Rotem Shannon-Haverfeld, who married his partner in New York two months after the state allowed same-sex marriages.
"Really, we expect that the State will find it difficult not to respect a marriage that was conducted in the US. Maybe it will make it easier to raise a child, or maybe even in the simpler issues, like mortgages or job applications, I will not have register as a bachelor even though I'm not."
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