Jerusalem - the Knesset voted down a bill on Wednesday that would allow same-sex, as well as interfaith couples to wed.
The legislation, by MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) opens the option of civil marriages for those who may not be wed according to halacha (Jewish law), as well as those who choose not to be married by the Chief Rabbinate. It was rejected, with 39 MKs opposed and 11 in favor.
Horowitz said there are tens of thousands of homosexual couples in Israel, and his law would help them and others who cannot exercise the basic right to be married and build a family.
â€śThere is an extremist, dark institution deciding who may or may not get married,â€ť the Meretz MK said. â€śThe public is sick of the rabbinate.â€ť
According to Horowitz, coalition parties betrayed their secular voters by rejecting the bill, choosing to pander to haredi (ultra-orthodox) parties, instead.
â€śNow, more than ever, it is clear to the public in Israel who is for a free society and who is for haredim,â€ť he added.
After Horowtiz presented his bill, Justice Minister Yaacov Neâ€™eman gave a succinct rebuttal: â€śYou did not bring your bill to the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, so the governmentâ€™s official stance is to oppose it. Thank you.â€ť
Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On said she is not surprised by Neâ€™emanâ€™s opposition, because he has said he is committed to building a halachic state.
â€śThe Knesset is adopting religious law that is anachronistic, chauvinist, racist and discriminatory, which was written thousands of years ago,â€ť Gal-On stated, calling for separation of religion and state.
The 11 MKs in favor of civil marriages were from Meretz, Labor and Hadash, as well as Kadima MK Nino Abesadze.
Content is provided courtesy of the Jerusalem Post
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