Religious MKs seek end to all J'lem gay parades

MK Ze'ev sparks anger during legislative commitee's discussion on bill against J'lem pride parades.

gay parade 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
gay parade 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Religious Knesset Members attempted to put an end to all gay pride parades in Jerusalem, submitting a series of bills on Tuesday that would amend the Basic Law of the city. MKs Eli Gabai (NU-NRP) and Yitzhak Vaknin (Shas) presented bills to the Law and Constitution Committee that would give the Jerusalem Municipality an overriding vote on any public events within the city limits. The bills, which have already passed a first reading in the plenum, would allow the municipality to outlaw the gay pride parades, which they have publically opposed for several years, but been forced to allow due to a decision by the High Court and Israel's laws on the right to free speech. Members of Israel's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) groups called the bills "a disgrace" both to progressive sexuality and free speech. "The right to march in the capital city is not a local 'Jerusalemite' matter," said Michael Hammel, the head of the Israel LGBT organization. "This is a culture war, where politicians are trying to turn Jerusalem into their private property." Members of the Hadash Party's "Red-Pink Patrol," which is active in LGBT rights, hung signs over the homes of several Shas MKs on Monday night, declaring those lawmakers "undemocratic." "In this house lives an MK who is trying to outlaw the citizens' right to march and protest on the streets of Jerusalem," read the posters. "This anti-democratic bill is targeting not only the homosexual, lesbian, transgender and bisexual communities, but also human and civil rights." MK Nissim Ze'ev (Shas) said that he was outraged by the signs posted outside his home. If it was up to him, he told the Law Committee on Tuesday, all gays would be put in rehabilitation centers "along with drug addicts and alcoholics." The gay rights movement is a "plague that may destroy the Jewish state," said Ze'ev, who added that the Health Ministry should deal with homosexuality as it does bird flu. Ze'ev has made similar comments in the past, proposing four months ago that the state establish "rehabilitation centers" to suppress the sexual tendencies of gay people. MK Zehava Gal-On (Meretz) called Ze'ev's comments unacceptable. "When I hear concepts like plague and self-destruction, I don't believe they are in the [acceptable] lexicon of expressions. The capital city does not belong only to the haredim," said Gal-On. The Law Committee decided that further debate was necessary before it could pass the bill on to the plenum for a second and third vote.