Can same-sex couples get married in Israel or any other country in the Middle East?

Sunday, June 6, 2021
By Austin Tannenbaum

Same-sex couples cannot get married in any Middle Eastern country, including Israel.

In 2006, Israel’s Supreme Court ordered the Israeli government to recognize gay couples married abroad. Married and unmarried same-sex couples alike are entitled to the same legal rights as straight couples, including tax and inheritance benefits, medical privileges and the ability to adopt. Performing a same-sex marriage remains illegal within Israel’s borders.

In Israel, gay people are legally protected against hate crimes and employment discrimination and may serve in government and the military. In contrast, homosexual acts are illegal in most Middle Eastern countries, with punishments including multi-year prison sentences and the death penalty.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, “there are currently 29 countries where same-sex marriage is legal.”

This fact brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.
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