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Same-sex couple wins NIS 80,000 from wedding venue that turned them away

After two women persisted in attempting to book the site, a representative explained to them that ‘we do not do such things’

Couple takes part in a mass same-sex wedding in Tel Aviv, June 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
Couple takes part in a mass same-sex wedding in Tel Aviv, June 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

A discrimination lawsuit filed by a same-sex couple against the Ganei Hatzvi event venue ended on Tuesday in a settlement agreement between the parties that was approved by the court and will see the venue pay the two women NIS 80,000 ($23,000) in compensation.

The couple came to visit the event hall outside Ashkelon in September 2020 after a coordinating by telephone, according to the lawsuit. When the site’s representative realized that it was a same-sex wedding, he attempted to persuade them not to hold the event in the hall.

After the couple insisted on booking at the hall, the representative explained to them that “we do not do such things,” and added, according to Channel 12, “Bedouins too — we don’t do Bedouin [weddings] either. We let them get their photographs done here, but [weddings] we don’t do.”

The couple filed a lawsuit in Ashdod’s Magistrate Court along with the Aguda Association for LGBT Equality in Israel, and were represented by Hagai Kelai, Adi Greenfeld and Adia Sheinwald. The suit demanded monetary compensation and alleged the event hall’s representative denied them service because they were a same-sex couple, which is prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Aguda had previously won a similar suit in 2020, when a print shop in Beersheba refused to print posters for an LGBT rights group. The Beersheba Magistrate’s Court ruled the shop would pay the group NIS 50,000 in addition to legal expenses.

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