Israel Again Deals Gay Couples, Families Legislative Setback

Two proposals voted down Sunday would have outlawed discrimination and provided equality for same-sex couples buying a home.

BY Alex J Davidson

December 09 2013 5:10 PM ET

Gays in Israel suffered another setback Sunday when the country’s cabinet voted down two bills that would have expanded LGBT rights in the workplace and housing.

The defeat comes on the heels of a defeat for gay-headed families last week when Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, failed to pass a measure that would have granted gay parents the same tax breaks as their straight peers.

The bills that failed in a cabinet session Sunday would have outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation and given same-sex couples equal treatment in obtaining mortgages.

According to Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper:

MK Dov Khenin of Hadash, who sponsored the bill that would have extended mortgage benefits already granted to straight couples, to gay ones wrote:

“Same-sex couples who live as a couple in every way but cannot officially be recognized as a married couple do not receive tax credits as a couple and are forced to take out a mortgage as singles,” said Khenin. “This situation is unacceptable, since this is a discount given by the state to make it easier for couples in Israel who want to live in their own home. Same-sex couples work, pay taxes in accordance with the law and fulfill their obligations to the state, but do not receive any discount.”

The question now remains about whether Israeli lawmakers will pass any laws that put same-sex couples and their families on a par with their straight counterparts. The past few weeks have shown only negative signs and raised doubts about prospects for LGBT equality in the Jewish state.

As things stand now, gay parents who adopt are not recognized under Israel’s tax code.

Israel does not currently have same-sex marriage but it does register gay and lesbian couples who marry elsewhere.

Contact reporter Alex Davidson on Twitter at twitter.com/adwildcat

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