Yesh Atid ministers on Sunday voted against Labor MK Stav Shaffir’s bill
allowing same-sex couples to have civil unions, even though the party is pushing
a policy that would allow them.
Meanwhile, Education Minister Shai Piron,
Deputy Religious Affairs Minister Eli Ben- Dahan and MK Elazar Stern (Hatnua)
are working on a version of a civil union that coalition parties can agree
Shaffir’s initiative, which was rejected by the Ministerial Committee
for Legislation, applied only to homosexual couples and would allow them to have
a civil union, not marriage. Yesh Atid’s legislation, proposed last week to
great fanfare, would allow anyone who does not want to, or cannot, be married by
the rabbinate to have a civil union. Another bill, by MK Meir Sheetrit (Hatnua),
allows a civil union for anyone whom the rabbinate refuses to marry, including
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni was the only minister to vote in favor
of Shaffir’s bill.
Finance Minister Yair Lapid said that while the Labor
bill seeks to help same-sex couples, it actually discriminates against them and
turns them into second-class citizens.
Shaffir, however, said “ministers
proved that their flattery of the gay community starts and ends with pride
parades and Facebook statuses.”
“When it comes to action, most of them
are afraid to fight extremists in the coalition,” she added, referring to the
Bayit Yehudi party, which has veto power over all matters of religion and
Shaffir mocked Yesh Atid MKs for “running to TV studios last week
to tell them they support civil unions, but when the proposal reaches their
table, they reject it with various strange excuses.”
Shelly Yacimovich (Labor) also criticized the government for missing a “historic
“It’s unfortunate and upsetting that even in the one area
where Lapid and his party could have made a deep change in people’s lives and
allow people of the same sex to get married, as is customary in the enlightened
world, they let the conservative right in the government decide for them,”
Yacimovich wrote on Facebook.
Same-sex marriage has been legalized in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina, Denmark, New Zealand and Britain, as well as fourteen US states.
Many other countries allow same-sex domestic partnerships or civil unions, among them Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, Ireland and several US states.
JPost.com staff contributed to this report.