Committee okays inheritance between same-sex partners

Knesset bill seeks to give gay couples equal inheritance rights. Livni: Israeli society has changed, so must law

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90/File)
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90/File)

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday approved an amendment to the Inheritance Law (1965) which would give same-sex couples the same inheritance rights of heterosexual couples.

The bill which was given the go-ahead on Sunday was advanced by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and backed by ministers from her Hatnua faction as well as Yesh Atid and Likud. It amends the laws of inheritance between partners, which today apply only to married couples and “A man and a woman living a family life in a joint household” to “A couple living a family life in a joint household.”

“The Inheritance Law was written in 1965,” Livni said, “but Israeli society today is advanced and much more accepting. Families in 2014 are much more diverse than they were in the 60s, and so it is only right that relevant legislation should change accordingly.”

The bill was opposed by ministers from Yisrael Beitenu and Jewish Home. It must still clear the Knesset plenum in order to become law.

In March the committee authorized a bill which would allow same-sex couples and single parents to seek surrogacy services in Israel. The ruling, which has not yet been approved by the Knesset plenum, would overturn current Israeli law, under which only heterosexual couples are permitted to pursue surrogacy within the country.

In addition the bill seeks to further extend surrogacy circles, allowing married women to also serve as surrogate mothers. The age of eligible surrogate mothers would be raised from 36 to 38. However, the bill stipulates that individuals seeking surrogacy must be under the age of 54.

Adiv Sterman contributed to this report.

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