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Photo by: Courtesy Yesh Atid
Ministers approve tax break for gay couples with kids
By LAHAV HARKOV
01/12/2013
Bill would give same-sex couples benefit meant to encourage women to enter workforce.
 
Male homosexual couples with children will receive tax benefits, as heterosexual couples do, if a bill to that effect drafted by MK Adi Kol becomes law.

Kol’s proposal was rejected by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation last week, but Finance Minister Yair Lapid submitted an appeal and brought back the legislation for another vote, and it was authorized by the committee on Sunday.

According to Kol’s bill, two men who have a child would get tax credits equal to that of a man and a woman with a child, although the purpose of the existing, higher tax credit for women is meant to encourage them to join the workforce.

The actual text of the bill does not explain if lesbian couples will get a smaller tax break if the law passes, though the non-legally binding explanatory portion refers only to families with two male parents.

Women, on average, earn 66 percent of what men earn, according to the Economy Ministry. A 2011 study by the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry showed that 11% fewer women than men participate in the workforce, with 29.6% of females working part-time.

Still, Kol (Yesh Atid) called the current tax code discriminatory to same-sex male couples and congratulated the government for making a statement that “the State of Israel sees homosexual couples as parents and a legitimate family unit.”

Kol pointed out that from a child’s birth until his or her 18th birthday, the tax credit adds up to tens of thousands of shekels, which gay couples are not able to save.

“It’s important to pass this law, without any connection to religion and state. This is a matter of human rights,” Lapid said.

Health Minister Yael German, also of Yesh Atid, said the bill brings justice to a population group that is deprived and discriminated against.

The “Likud Pride” group commended Likud ministers for supporting the bill, saying it is a natural result of the Likud’s liberal ideology and thanked Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat for joining Lapid’s appeal and Knesset Interior Committee chairwoman Miri Regev (Likud Beytenu) for co-sponsoring the legislation.

The Israeli National LGBT Task Force said “many in the [gay] community are parents who faced discrimination, and we hope the support of most ministers will lead to an amendment to the law that will reduce such discrimination against LGBT families in comparison to heterosexual families.”
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