Israeli MP forced to resign after attending nephew’s gay wedding
An Israeli MP has been forced to resign – after attending his nephew’s same-sex wedding.
Yigal Guetta had sat as a member of the Knesset (Parliament) for the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party.
Despite his conservative beliefs, Mr Guetta opted to attend his gay nephew’s wedding to his same-sex partner, putting aside his objections to take part in their happy day.
But his decision led to anger from other lawmakers within his party and from Orthodox rabbis, after he revealed that in a radio interview this week that he had attended the wedding.
In the radio interview Mr Guetta made clear that he believes same-sex marriage is “forbidden” by his religion, but explained he had attended anyway “in order to make [my nephew] happy, because he’s my sister’s son, and she’s my sister and I want to embrace her”.
Despite making clear that he still opposes same-sex marriage in line with the party’s beliefs, his attendance at the ceremony was enough to lead to calls for his sacking.
A letter from a number of rabbis had previously called for Mr Guetta’s removal, urging the party to disvow “this terrible desecration of God’s blessed name”.
Following the row, Mr Guetta confirmed today that he would be resigning from the Parliament.
He offered his resignation to Shas chairman Aryeh Deri, who accepted it.
Mr Deri confirmed: ““Minister Deri told MK Guetta that he respects his decision, expressed his appreciation for him and thanked him for his valuable work and for the new and energetic spirit he introduced to Shas.”
The chair of rival party Yesh Atid, Yair Lapid, said: “It’s sad that in Israel in 2017 an MK is forced to resign because he participated in the wedding of two people who love each other.”
Same-sex weddings are not legally possible in Israel, as the country has no system of civil marriage, and none of the recognised religious groups marry same-sex couples.
Gay couples in the country often travel abroad to marry, as Israel does recognise same-sex marriages from overseas.
Parts of Israel are liberal on LGBT rights, but homophobia is rife in parts of the country and among ultra-Orthodox communities.
Jerusalem Pride has seen a number of violent incidents over the years.
In 2015, six parade goers were stabbed and wounded and sixteen-year-old Shira Banki was killed.
The attacker, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man, had been known to police and made several public threats to the parade – leading to questions about why he was not stopped in advance.