23 couples ‘tie the knot’ at staged mass wedding to advocate for gay rights
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23 couples ‘tie the knot’ at staged mass wedding to advocate for gay rights

Hundreds participate in Tel Aviv event campaigning for same-sex marriage in Israel; city’s annual pride parade set for June 14

  • Gay couples take part in a mass same-sex wedding in Tel Aviv, Israel, June 4, 2019 to demand the right to same-sex marriage ahead of the country's Gay Pride week. (AP /Oded Balilty)
    Gay couples take part in a mass same-sex wedding in Tel Aviv, Israel, June 4, 2019 to demand the right to same-sex marriage ahead of the country's Gay Pride week. (AP /Oded Balilty)
  • Gay couples prepare for a mass same-sex wedding in Tel Aviv, Israel, June 4, 2019. (AP /Oded Balilty)
    Gay couples prepare for a mass same-sex wedding in Tel Aviv, Israel, June 4, 2019. (AP /Oded Balilty)
  • Gay couple kisses during a mass same-sex wedding in Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, June 4, 2019 (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
    Gay couple kisses during a mass same-sex wedding in Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, June 4, 2019 (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
  • Gay couples take part in a mass same-sex wedding in Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, June 4, 2019  (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
    Gay couples take part in a mass same-sex wedding in Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, June 4, 2019 (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
  • Gay couple takes part in a mass same-sex wedding in Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, June 4, 2019.(AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
    Gay couple takes part in a mass same-sex wedding in Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, June 4, 2019.(AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
  • Gay couples take part in a mass same-sex wedding in Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, June 4, 2019 (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
    Gay couples take part in a mass same-sex wedding in Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, June 4, 2019 (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

Hundreds of Israelis participated in a mass wedding Tuesday in Tel Aviv to demand the right to same-sex marriage ahead of the country’s Gay Pride week.

The event involved an unofficial wedding ceremony for 23 gay couples, who walked down the aisle, took vows and danced at a banquet, cheered by friends, family and supporters.

The annual Tel Aviv pride parade, set for June 14, draws flocks of foreign visitors to the city, which flaunts itself as one of the world’s most gay-friendly tourist destinations.

Yet political rights for Israel’s gay community lag behind the increasingly widespread cultural acceptance.

Gay couples prepare for a mass same-sex wedding in Tel Aviv, Israel, June 4, 2019. (AP /Oded Balilty)

Jewish ultra-Orthodox parties, which wield significant influence in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government and have a monopoly over matters of religion and state, have rejected legislation that condones homosexuality, which they see as defying Jewish law.

Conservative Jerusalem’s pride parade is set for Thursday.

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