Meretz MK to sponsor alternative bill for civil marriage

Nitzan Horowitz says Israel Beiteinu's proposed bill does not address gays, halachically Jewish Israelis.

nitzan horovitz 88 (photo credit: )
nitzan horovitz 88
(photo credit: )
While it remains unclear whether Israel Beiteinu's demand for civil union legislation will be adopted by the next government, newly elected MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) said on Tuesday he plans to submit a bill allowing all Israelis to have civil marriages - including homosexuals. In his blog, Horowitz explained that Israel Beiteinu's proposed legislation only addressed the concerns of those who couldn't marry in Israel because they were not recognized as Jewish under Halacha. "It [the Israel Beiteinu bill] will deny couples who choose not to get married in accordance with Jewish Halacha the legal recognition they have strived to achieve, and will push them back to the arms of the rabbinate," Horowitz wrote in his post. Horowitz also said Israel Beiteinu's bill referred solely to heterosexual couples. "Approving Israel Beiteinu's civil unions would prevent the recognition of couples of the same sex. In recent years, couples of the same sex have gained wide legal recognition involving matrimonial aspects of life, but if Israel Beiteinu's bill passes, tens of thousands of couples of the same sex will be discriminated against in a severe way," he said. Israel Beiteinu MK David Rotem explained that the bill he had initiated would allow all Israelis to register civil unions and thus be entitled to all the same legal rights and benefits as couples who get married through the rabbinate. "Everyone except for couples of the same sex," Rotem said. He said the reason he had decided to advance a civil unions bill was to solve the problem of mamzerim (Jewish children born of an illicit sexual relationship). "As a religious Jewish man, I think we shouldn't force couples who don't want to get married in the rabbinate to do so. It doesn't lead to anything good, but rather to tricks that are meant to bypass the laws of Halacha," he said. An Israel Beiteinu spokeswoman said the party had chosen to promote a bill of limited scope and not a comprehensive one to increase its chances of being approved by the Knesset.