Court in Haifa recognizes lesbian couple as a family

JERUSALEM — For the first time in Israel, a court has recognized a lesbian couple as a family unit.

The recognition came as a magistrates court considered a woman's request for a restraining order to keep her partner away from the house.

The woman claimed that her partner was alcoholic, and that the partner would come home drunk late at night and then verbally abuse and threaten her.

The court accepted the appeal and issued the restraining order.

The two women, who signed a nuptial agreement with a lawyer, are also involved in proceedings to dissolve their union and divide their joint property.

The nuptial agreement they signed in November 1995 stated that they had been living together for three years, intended to maintain a permanent relationship and wanted to give formal expression to the love and friendship they felt for each other.

Haifa magistrates court Judge Avidan Glovinsky, who was asked to issue the restraining order as part of the law against domestic violence, said the fundamental question the court must answer is whether a same-sex couple should be considered a couple within the full extent of the law.

The court concluded that the term "couple" does apply to same-sex relationships as well as heterosexual relationships.