Israel’s Education Minister has said that it is the state’s “duty” to make sure that same-sex couple are not recognised as families.

Minister of Education Shai Piron, of the Yesh Atid party, told INN: “I think it’s a Jewish state’s right, maybe even its duty, to say to same-sex couples who decide to live their lives together – that’s not a family.”

The politician, 49, said that while he supported basic economic rights for gay Israelis, he could not condone the use of term “couple” or “family” to describe them.

Piron’s party is usually one of the more progressive in Israel’s coalition government, with Yesh Atid Health Minister Yael German earlier this year submitting a bill which would allow surrogacy for same-sex couples.

Despite being stalled by Jewish Home housing minister Uri Ariel, it finally gained cabinet approval earlier this month, clearing the way for it to pass later this year.

Earlier this month, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni officiated a same-sex wedding, despite same-sex marriage ceremonies being ‘illegal’.

Same-sex marriages are recognised in Israel, but must be conducted overseas as only the religious authorities: Jewish, Christian, Muslim or Druze can perform marriages, and none offer gay couples the chance to marry.

Like mixed faith straight couples, gay couples must marry in another country such as France or Canada, but once they do, they are recognised as a married couple in the Jewish state.

In May 2012, the Israeli Parliament voted against introducing civil marriage for gay and straight couples.