Lapid working to pass civil, gay marriage in Israel

Finance minister working to build a “coalition within the coalition” to create alternative to religious marriage.

May 18, 2013 18:46
1 minute read.
Wedding dance

Wedding dance 370. (photo credit: Courtesy Hiddush)


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Finance Minister Yair Lapid is working to build a “coalition within the coalition” to create a civil alternative to religious marriage in Israel, including same-sex marriage.

In a question and answer session on his Facebook page Thursday night, Lapid told a questioner that he was “definitely” planning on advancing the civil marriage issue.

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“I’m a big supporter of civil marriage,” Lapid said. “We’re working to create a coalition within the coalition. Yisrael Beytenu is for it, other parties less. We’ll battle for this and work for it without stop, for civil marriage, including marriages for same-sex couples in Israel, simply because it’s the just and right thing to do.

“The rabbinate can’t have a monopoly on marriage and divorce,” he added. “People need there to be an alternative.”

On Thursday, the bill was submitted to the Ministerial Committee for Legislation by MK Merav Michaeli (Labor) seeking to give the same-sex couples with children equal rights to heterosexual parents.

Michaeli’s bill makes it easier for a non-biological parent to be legally considered an infant’s mother or father soon after he or she is born, implementing a recommendation by Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein from last week.

“Aside from the fact that there is no justification for discriminating against homosexual couples, this bill is concerned with the welfare of children, whose parents will have that legal status from the first day without having to go through anunnecessary adoption process,” Michaeli explained.

The Labor MK said it is the legislature’s responsibility to not wait for a court case to require this change to be made.

Last Sunday, Weinstein announced a policy shift on how the state addresses homosexual parenthood of children born through surrogate motherhood.

According to the current policy, a member of a homosexual couple who is the child’s biological father must pass a paternity test. The second man in the couple must go through a lengthy process to legally adopt the child, which can take as long as three years.

Weinstein recommended that once the biological father passes a paternity test, the family courts immediately issue a special parenthood order for the second man, granting them both full parental rights and powers at a much earlier point.

Yonah Jeremy Bob contributed to this report.

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