Vice Premier Moshe Ya'alon on Monday expressed strong support for state recognition of same-sex marriage in Israel.
"I think marriage is a matter of personal choice and we need to allow freedom of choice," Ya'alon told Army Radio. "The state should recognize [same-sex marriage]," he stated.
He added that there had already been a case in the army where a man's male partner was recognized as a common-law spouse.
The issue of same-sex marriage has hurtled into the forefront of political discussion since US President Barack Obama declared support for same-sex marriages last week. Inspired by the US president's public statement, MK Nitzan Horowitz ( Meretz) resubmitted his marriage equality bill, which will be brought to a vote in the Knesset this week.
Horowitz’s “Freedom of Choice in Marriage” bill would allow for any couple that is not recognized by the Chief Rabbinate to have a civil marriage. This includes same-sex marriages, as well as marriage between Jews and gentiles.
Horowitz pointed out that marriage inequality affects Israelis from many sectors.
“Hundreds of thousands of Israelis cannot realize their right to be married in their own country, and must be wed abroad, which is very expensive, all because of blatant religious coercion,” Horowitz said.
Lahav Harkov contributed to this report