A day after marking its first ever LGBTI rights day, the Israeli parliament shot down six pro-gay bills.
President Benjamin Netanyahu told the Knesset Tuesday (23 February) that ‘every person was created in God’s image’ and this principle ‘must direct our lives every day.’
But the very next day, the ruling coalition, led by his center-right Likud party, voted down six bills proposed by the opposition. These included legislation to ban ‘conversion therapy,’ legalize gay marriage and teach health professionals about LGBTI issues.
Amir Ohana, Likud’s first openly gay MK, left the plenum without voting, while Likud’s Sharren Haskel, head of the LGBTI Knesset caucus, voted against the bills.
‘I told the coalition chairman yesterday that I won’t vote with the coalition against the pro-gay bills today,’ Ohana was quoted as saying by the Haaretz newspaper.
‘Coalition members are bound to coalition discipline, but contrary to what I said, I felt I couldn’t vote against the gay community, against myself.’
Ohana said he did not vote in favor of the bills ‘because the result wouldn’t have been any different.’
‘Also, I would have been penalized,’ he added.
During the debate on the bills, Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, of the ultra-orthodox United Torah Judaism party, compared gay sex to worshipping the golden calf.