Wednesday, April 25, 2001
Marriages are down while divorces are
up in China
A story published today by the Peoples Daily reports that the latest statistics in China
show that last year's numbers saw a decreased of over 8.48 million newlyweds, and slight
increase of 1.21 million couples divorcing when compared with the year before.
Since the 1990s, China has seen a decreased number of people of age getting married or to
registering for marriage.
In 1990, 9.51 million couples registered for marriage, 9.34 million in 1995, and 8.85
million in 1999. Meanwhile, an increased number of couples got divorced and as a result of
social changes people's concept on marriage have also changed. In 1990, 0.8 million
couples were divorced, 1.05 million in 1995, and 12 million in 1999.
An authoritative view from the Ministry of Civil Affairs states that marriages and
divorces in China represent a profound change taken place in Chinese families and that
more people have come to lean on a comparatively modern open concept on marriage and
family life in China.
Monday, April 23, 2001
Israeli Supreme Court rules in favor
for lesbian mother relationship
A story released today by Tel-Aviv University paper reports that on March 19 2001, the
Israel Supreme Court gave its decision ruling that the Rabbinical Court had acted outside
its jurisdiction when it ordered, a divorced woman could not be with her lesbian lover in
the presence of her children. The Rabbinical Court made this order at the ex-husband's
request, and the Supreme Court held that the matter did not fall into the jurisdiction of
the Rabbinical Court.
In 1998, the divorced husband approached the Rabbinical court in Haifa, asking to reduce
the alimony he had to pay. A month later, he submitted, within this proceeding, two
motions, one of them for the rabbinical court to issue an order prohibiting the divorced
wife from bringing her lesbian lover in the house or have any contact meet the
children in any form or place.
The rabbinical court asked the divorced husband to explain how it could have jurisdiction
to hear the request for alimony reduction, as the couple's divorce was already final.
However, regarding the request concerning the lesbian relationship, it held: "Since
the mother is conducting a love affair with her [female] neighbor, her companion, in her
home in the children's presence, this behavior is immoral and is severely detrimental to
the children's education and souls..we are issuing an order prohibiting the mother to have
her children meet her lover Mrs... [petitioner 2]".
Petitioner then appealed to the High Rabbinical Court, which upheld the lower rabbinical
court holding, and added that it is justified as having the children meet their mother's
lover will be detrimental to the education of the children "and this is clear to any
one with a mind, and needs no explanation".
The court added that the rabbinical court had the authority to issue the order based on
the clause in the divorce agreement that included the woman's obligation not to bring in a
strange man she is not married to into the house. The court said that the purpose of the
clause is clearly to protect the children's soul from seeing their mother live with a man
she is not married to according to Jewish law, and thus the same clearly applies if the
children will meet the mother's lover.
The petitioners then filed their petition with the Supreme Court to review the Rabbinical
Court's decision for exceeding jurisdiction or for illegality. They argued the court acted
ultravires, as the couple was already divorced and thus it was not a matter of marriage
and divorce, nor was it linked to the divorce case.
The Supreme Court's hearing focused on the issue of jurisdiction. The Attorney General
appeared before the Court at the Court's request, and expressed his position that the
rabbinical court acted ultra vires.
The Supreme Court agreed and held that if the main suit (for alimony) brought before the
Rabbinical Court was not within its jurisdiction, then the request concerning the children
also was not within the jurisdiction.