The Knesset voted down a bill on Wednesday that would allow same-sex and
interfaith couples to wed.
The legislation, proposed by MK Nitzan
Horowitz (Meretz), would open the option of civil marriages for those who may
not be wed according to Halacha (Jewish law), as well as those who choose not to
be married by the Chief Rabbinate. It was rejected, with 39 MKs opposed and 11
Horowitz said there are tens of thousands of homosexual couples
in Israel, and his law would help them and others who cannot exercise the basic
right to be married and build a family.
“There is an extremist, dark
institution deciding who may or may not get married,” he said. “The public is
sick of the rabbinate.”
According to Horowitz, coalition parties betrayed
their secular voters by rejecting the bill, choosing to pander to haredi
(ultra-Orthodox) parties, instead.
“Now, more than ever, it is clear to
the public in Israel who is for a free society and who is for haredim,” he
After Horowitz presented his bill, Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman
gave a succinct rebuttal: “You did not bring your bill to the Ministerial
Committee for Legislation, so the government’s official stance is to oppose it.
Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On said she is not surprised by
Neeman’s opposition, because he has said he is committed to building a halachic
“The Knesset is adopting religious law that is anachronistic,
chauvinist, racist and discriminatory, which was written thousands of years
ago,” Gal-On stated, calling for separation of religion and state.
MKs in favor of civil marriages were from Meretz, Labor and Hadash, as well as
Kadima MK Nino Abesadze.