Ya’alon a rare upbeat voice on right as Israeli pols hail US same-sex marriage
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Ya’alon a rare upbeat voice on right as Israeli pols hail US same-sex marriage

Defense minister hopes Israel will follow America’s lead; Labor calls Supreme Court decision a ‘historic moment’

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio prepares to marry same-sex couples in front of City Hall on June 26, 2015 in New York City. (Yana Paskova/Getty Images/AFP)
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio prepares to marry same-sex couples in front of City Hall on June 26, 2015 in New York City. (Yana Paskova/Getty Images/AFP)

Several Israeli politicians took to Facebook over the weekend to express their support for the United States Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage and expressed the hope that Israel would soon follow suit, while others added the rainbow pride flag to their profile pictures.

“The Supreme Court of the United States made an important, just and historic decision today,” Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud), wrote on Friday. “Every person has the right to marry and have children, regardless of their sexual orientation. I hope additional countries, including Israel, will follow in the footsteps of the United States and grant this basic right to all.”

His voice was a rare one among politicians from right-wing parties.

“After the American Supreme Court approved gay marriage, after Defense Minister Ya’alon commended them and expressed hope that it will be possible also in Israel (and he should be lauded for this, since it carries a price with some of his public and he has shown courage) – the time has come for cross-party cooperation – across coalition and opposition – to pass the civil union bill,” Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid wrote, adding that “accepting the other is a major principle of Judaism and we are all committed to it.”

החלטת בית המשפט העליון בארה"ב היא צעד נכון, חשוב ובעל משמעות היסטורית. לכל אדם יש זכות בסיסית להינשא ולהביא ילדים לעולם,…

Posted by ‎משה (בוגי) יעלון – Moshe (Bogie) Ya'alon‎ on Friday, 26 June 2015

On Friday, the US Supreme Court ruled that there was no legal grounds to oppose same-sex marriage, thus making the practice legal in all states of the union. The ruling was hailed by activists all over the world as a landmark achievement for the LGBT community in its efforts to win equal legal footing with heterosexuals.

In Israel, where the laws of marriage are still controlled by the Chief Rabbinate, legalizing same-sex marriage is not on the agenda. Currently, even Jews who want to marry non-Jews of the opposite sex must wed abroad if their marriage is to be recognized by state institutions. In fact, it is illegal to officiate at a wedding that isn’t conducted through the recognized religious institutions.

During the previous Knesset term, the Yesh Atid and Yisrael Beytenu parties pushed a civil union bill that would have recognized same-sex partnerships in all state matters as equal to marriage, but the bill referred to same-sex unions as civil unions, not as marriage. The bill, a key campaign issue for Yesh Atid upon its establishment, was never signed into law.

Former health minister Yael German (Yesh Atid), also expressed support for the decision.

Former Labor Party leader Shelly Yachimovich on December 17, 2014 (Photo credit: Amir Levy/Flash90)
Former Labor Party leader Shelly Yachimovich on December 17, 2014 (Amir Levy/Flash90)

Zionist Union party MK Shelly Yachimovich called the ruling “a historic moment in which the heart skips a beat.” She characterized the ruling as “amazing, revolutionary and historic” and linked to a page on her website that features a draft of an Israeli bill to allow same-sex marriage.

Her party colleague Eitan Cabel, attributed the decision to the US president.

“And then came one Obama with his truth and changed the history of the US,” he said. “I cannot get over the fact that many of my friends and acquaintances, here in our own little land, cannot fulfill their right to get married and establish a family.”

Michal Biran, a junior Zionist Union MK, wrote that the ruling was a “significant victory” and vowed to “do all I can to allow same-sex marriages in Israel.”

Merav Michaeli, also of the Zionist Union, wrote that the decision is “a cause for celebration, but not for us. We don’t even have civil marriage. As head of the gay caucus I promise to continue to make every effort to allow civil marriage for everyone, here in Israel.”

In Meretz, most MKs wrote comments expressing excitement over the ruling and supporting it. Party leader Zahava Gal-on wrote on her Facebook page, “Love has won.” MK Tamar Zandberg wrote, “As obvious as it may seem, [the decision is] amazing.”

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