Legal Case Shows Trouble of Being LGBTQ in Orthodox Jew Community

They lose the custody of their children and even visitation rights

For those who wish to leave the ultra-Orthodox Jewish fold, the process can be an extremely trying one. Even Judges in secular courts tend to side with the spouse who continues to remain in the Orthodoxy, asking the spouse who wants to leave her or his sense of responsibility. Jewish couples, when they divorce, usually makes beth din, the Jewish court, their first port of call. Secular courts are approached only if one of the spouses take the decision to exit the ultra-Orthodox Jewish religious group.

A few of these judgments get overthrown by other judges, but not before they take an emotional toll. People at the end of less-than-correct initial judgment are frequently instructed by courts to maintain the traditional customs. Most Jews, when they marry, sign on the dotted line without reading the fine print. This is a mistake as Judges read the fine print which they signed on as part of the original agreement.

There are some good reasons as to why a civil court judge focus on religious practice. According to lawyers, once any religious divorce agreement gets signed and then submitted to the secular court, the document receives the status of a legal contract. The court presses strong interest in the custody cases as they want the status quo with regard to children gets maintained. The court does not want a divorce to destroy all tranquility in their lives. When it comes to children born to the ultra-Orthodox, it means preserving the religious customs. This is where the problems of LGBTQ members ultra-Orthodox Jewish members come in.

For those LGBTQ members who opt to go out of the ultra-Orthodox fold, the pushback by the spouse and other members can be a difficult one. Families may turn on them. Things may go wrong so much that the LGBTQ spouse may even lose visitation rights. Some women who have openly come out as gay suddenly found pushed out of the custody of their children.

The situation on the ground is so bad that human rights activists have stepped in. They point out that U.S. law explicitly states that children cannot be removed from their parents simply due to what a conservative community may think of the parent who came out. Many LGBTQ parents have complained that religious rights in the United States are less used as a shield and more as a sword.

Resources

Follow the Conversation on Twitter