Israeli President Shimon Peres has become the highest ranking Israeli politician to announce their support for same-sex couples having the right to marry – although his role in Government is largely ceremonial.
In response to a question about whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry by YNet journalist Eyal Lehmann, Peres replied, ‘even a person who is a homosexual is a human being, and he has rights. We have no power to take away [their] rights.’
‘We cannot take away someone's rights because they are different. We cannot take away their right to breathe, right to eat or right to start a family. We must allow everyone to live as is natural to them,' Peres said.
Peres made the comments Sunday during a state visit to Mexico.
Peres was in Guadalajara for the International Book Fair and also attended a Mexico-Israel Business Forum – the principal reason for his trip.
Peres’ comments come as Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid (There is a Future) party puts a bill before the Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs that would create a civilian authority through which both gay and straight couples could enter into civil marriages.
Currently only religious authorities may marry heterosexual couples in Israel though the country recognizes same-sex marriages performed in other nations where they are legal.
However conservative religious coalition partner the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party have threatened to veto even allowing gay parents the same tax breaks as opposite-sex parented families and they are likely to seek to veto the civil marriage bill as well.