Israel: Debate on same-sex civil unions delayed by Prime Minister
After the Israeli Justice Minister announced that she would present a bill to allow same-sex civil partnerships on Sunday, the country’s Prime Minister has delayed the debate on the issue.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said the decision to delay the debate was based on the fact that there was no consensus among the coalition government regarding the potential advancement of the bill, and that a discussion would only occur if a consensus had been reached.
The bill to recognise same-sex civil unions also included provisions for civil marriage for straight couples who do not meet the religious standards for marriage, which is currently the only form of marriage that can be performed within the State of Israel.
The bill, which is to be debated by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, was initiated by MK Meir Sheetrit of the Justice Minister’s Hatnua party.
It is expected to be broadly supported from the coalition, with members of the committee from Yesh Atid, Yisrael Beytenu and Likud, having expressed support for same-sex civil unions, reports the Times of Israel.
It has already been met with opposition from the Orthodox Jewish Home party, however, which has asserted that it will exercise its veto right to attempt to stop the bill from passing.
As well as allowing same-sex civil unions, the bill would offer civil marriage for couples unable to meet religious criteria. Currently citizens who aren’t registered as belonging to an organised religion are forced to marry abroad, or live with a lack of options in Israel. Those who convert to Judaism are only recognised if they undergo Orthodox conversion.
Gay couples can marry overseas in countries that allow same-sex marriage and then have their relationships recognised as a marriage within Israel.
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