Thousands protest Knesset's surrogacy bill’s exclusion of gay couples

According to legislation, gay couples are not entitled to state-supported surrogacy.

Thousands Protest Knesset's surrogacy bill on Saturday night in Tel Aviv (photo credit: SHIRA LEVRON)
Thousands Protest Knesset's surrogacy bill on Saturday night in Tel Aviv
(photo credit: SHIRA LEVRON)
Several thousand people demonstrated in Tel Aviv on Saturday night against a looming bill on surrogacy that, if passed, would exclude gay couples.
The bill, which is expected to pass into law in its final readings at the Knesset on Monday, updates current legislation that only grants state-supported surrogacy for married heterosexual couples, by expanding the eligibility to single women.
But it still leaves out gay couples.
Hen Arieli, the chairman of the LGBTQ Association opened her speech with a message to the South, at the end of a day in which Gaza border communities had been pounded by projectiles from Gaza.
“Our heart is with our LGBTQ sisters and brothers in the Gaza perimeter and in the IDF,” she said. “We are holding the demonstration to make our voices heard because the discrimination applies equally to all of us, and now that they are carrying the security burden, it is our duty to bear the burden of protest and struggle for them.”
“According to the prime minister’s fluent English we are in an LGBTQ paradise, but in reality our lives do not allow us to marry, we are not allowed to have children, and if we have already succeeded, we are overwhelmed by unnecessary difficulties.
There is a limit to how much ‘no’ we can hear and we will not remain silent until the discrimination ends,” Arieli added.
Oded Fried, the LGBTQ community’s representative in the Knesset, said: “If there was a law that states that only women born in Israel can be mothers or a law that couples of settlers are forbidden to establish a family, no one would remain silent and hide behind excuses like coalition discipline. Whoever votes in favor of the surrogacy law this week – this is a vote against us. And we will not sit quietly while legislators make laws against us and trample on our basic rights. “ Mickey Ouzen, board member of the Association of Israeli Gay Fathers, said: “A year ago, the High Court of Justice sent the state to do homework with an unequivocal clarification that the only acceptable situation is an equal surrogacy law for everyone – any other arrangement will be humiliating,” he said. “For us this is the right to be parents, and we must not deny this right to anyone. We refuse to beg or to give up, we refuse to be sent to foreign countries to get licenses to be parents, we refuse to continue to hear ‘no.’ We refuse the ongoing harm to the LGBTQ community, our families and our children, and we will continue with all our force until everyone understands that we are all first-class citizens – in spite of their anger.”
During the demonstration, Yaniv Weizman, a council member of the Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality and founder of the Israel Gay Youth association, announced his organization’s intention to establish a system of support for LGBTQ youth in the ultra-Orthodox community, in which coming out is taboo.