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Activists calls on gov't to avoid 'pinkwashing'
By LAHAV HARKOV
06/04/2012
Rivlin slammed for saying Israel is not ready for gay marriage at gay pride conference in Knesset.
 
The government must make real reforms to protect gay rights if they are going to use those positions to promote Israel, writer and director Gal Uchovsky said at a gay pride conference in the Knesset on Monday.

“Our prime minister is using freedom for gay people to advertise Israel around the world, while left-wing organizations have called it ‘pinkwashing’ – using our community to cover up crimes,” Uchovsky stated.

The director, who has written for The Jerusalem Post, told the MKs and LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual and Queer) activists at the conference organized by MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) that the government cannot use them to lie.

“They have to take real action, or their dirty laundry will start to stink,” Uchovsky said.

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin faced a hostile crowd, when he said that Israeli society is too conservative and would not accept gay marriage.

Responding to a question about US President Barack Obama’s support for gay marriage, Rivlin said a bill on the issue would not pass, and pointed out that Israel recognizes marriages of gay couples who were wed abroad.

“I believe every person has a right to his sexual preferences. Homosexuality is not a perversion, and everyone has the right to a relationship with whoever they want,” Rivlin added.

Horowitz slammed Rivlin’s opposition to gay marriage, saying he is denying people the basic right to a family and treating LGBTQ people as “second-rate citizens.”

“The lesson is clear: We must continue our battle and reach full equality,” the Meretz MK stated.

“Everything looks so nice and liberal and we are all sitting together,” opposition leader Shelly Yechimovich said of the Meretz, Labor, Kadima and Independence MKs gathered.

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However, she said most MKs in the coalition oppose gay rights, and that the general public is more “open and accepting” than the Knesset.

“We must influence decision- makers,” Yechimovich added.

Horowitz opened the conference by introducing its theme: Education and youth. He read aloud a letter from a 15-year-old gay teen who said he faces homophobia, asking Horowitz to visit his school and try to help his situation.

“I see statistics of youth who attempt suicide, start doing drugs or become prostitutes because of the humiliation they are subjected to [after coming out],” he said.

“Even though there have been achievements, there are still major battles for our community.”
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