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25 - A Tale of Fragmentation and Intertwinement

The Sacred and the Secular Systems for Forming and Dissolving Marriages in Israel

from Part VII - International Perspectives

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 May 2018

Robin Fretwell Wilson
Affiliation:
University of Illinois
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Summary

Few decisions in recent United States history have so sharply divided the American public as that of the Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges.  In the wake of Obergefell, social conservatives and religious dissenters have been growingly vocal about forcing the government "out of the marriage business altogether" and separating "civil marriage from Christian marriage." This chapter seeks to draw on the rich Israeli experimentation of splitting family law into two competing and disharmonious court systems, one religious and one secular, in order to point to the potential consequences of fragmenting the U.S. civil family law system. The chapter explores the implications arising from this crucial jurisdictional fragmentation in regards to Israel’s majority Jewish population, demonstrating the ways in which the Israeli model serves as a cautionary tale against the vision of legal marriage being espoused by some American social conservatives. Furthermore, this chapter will show that even within what purports to be the pure province of religion, civil forces are at work and operating with surprising consequences.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2018

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