An Israeli politician said the government has more important things to do than progressing LGBTI rights.
As the government was set to vote on a bill prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation over the weekend, Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel said ‘the government does not need to recognize the rights of same-sex couples in an official way,' according to the Jerusalem Post.
Ariel, who last year said gays shouldn’t be drafted into the Israeli Army as they ‘negatively affect its effectiveness’ went on to say during this weekend’s anti-gay rant: ‘Gays chose what they want to be, and the government needs to respond but doesn’t need to recognize them.
‘This isn’t a normative, regular or important thing. We think there are other things that need to be taken care of first,' Ariel said.
The following day, the Ministerial Committer for Legislation deadlocked over the anti-discrimination bill, with five ministers voting for and five against.
Yesh Atid party chairman Ofer Shelah originally proposed the bill, and thanks to Health Minister Yael German’s appeal, the bill will be reconsidered.
Nitzan Horowitz, the openly gay member of the legislative branch of the Israeli government, called Ariel an ‘unenlightened politician’ for his anti-gay remarks.
Horowitz said Ariel’s ‘homophobic comments represent his party, which believes in discrimination and religious coercion.’
‘The question is why prime minister [Binyamin Netanyahu] allows a minister in his government to harm hundreds of thousands of Israelis, and why his coalition partners, like Yesh Atid, back him.’
The Yesh Atid party suffered another blow earlier in the week. A bill proposed by Adi Kol to give gay male parents the same tax breaks as opposite-sex parents was torpedoed.
Lawyer and politician Dov Henin’s proposal to give same-sex couples the same benefits as opposite-sex couples when applying for mortgages, was also shut down over the weekend.