After a New Jersey appeals court reversed a decision against a woman there who used social media to push for her divorce, supporters of Jewish women who claim their separated spouses are abusing them by refusing to accede to a religious divorce are jubilant.
The woman’s social media remarks were deemed to be harassment and incitement by a lower court in 2021.
Then, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey joined other Orthodox women’s rights organizations that were already advocating for her.
The couple has been divorced since 2019, according to the 39-page court decision on Wednesday, which only gave the woman’s initials, LBB. She claims he has rejected her requests for a divorce.
The man was issued a temporary restraining order in 2021 that was subsequently made permanent. It forbade his estranged wife from contacting him and required her to take down social media posts encouraging him.
The judge that imposed the restraining order determined that the social media posts did not fall under the First Amendment’s protections for free expression since they constituted harassment, an invasion of privacy, and incitement.
Her social media advocacy did qualify as free expression, according to the three-judge panel of the appellate court, which rejected that justification.
“In sum, the judge’s finding that the Jewish community was prone to violence against get refusers—and the implicit holding that defendant was aware of and intentionally availed herself of such violent tendencies—is not supported by the record,” the judgment states.
“The video was made to garner attention. Nothing in the record shows that the film put the plaintiff’s safety or security in danger, and the video did not endanger or threaten the plaintiff.