Knesset official proposes equal benefits for same-sex partners

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com October 14 2002 11:00 PM ET

The chairman of the house committee in Israel's Knesset, Yossi Katz of the Labor Party, has proposed altering the Israeli parliament's rules to ensure that gay partners of Knesset members have the same rights as their heterosexual counterparts, according to the Tel Aviv daily newspaper Ha'aretz.

The move comes ahead of the addition of the first openly gay Knesset member, professor Uzi Even, who will replace Amnon Rubinstein as a representative of the Meretz Party at the start of the Knesset's winter session in November.

Knesset sources are expecting a turbulent meeting when the house committee convenes to discuss the proposal, given the objections of several conservative religious members.

"It is unacceptable that one member of the Knesset will be discriminated against compared to the other 119 members, simply because of his sexual orientation," said Katz. "Until now we have not been forced to deal with this issue, since there has not been an open homosexual in the Knesset. The proposed changes are not significant, but, hopefully, they will serve as an example to other places of work in Israel, both in the public and private sectors."