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Gay Israelis seek Canadian marriages

Gay Israelis seek Canadian marriages

Tel Aviv city council member Etai Pinkas and his boyfriend, along with three other gay couples from Israel, were expected to obtain marriage licenses in Ontario, where same-sex weddings are legal. Pinkas, Tel Aviv's first openly gay man on the city council, said he's determined to make Israel aware of how gays are discriminated against in his country. He intends to take the matter to the Supreme Court in Israel if authorities there don't recognize his marriage upon his return. "We want [Israelis] to be exposed to the facts," he said. "Same-sex marriage is not something that is only for distant countries; it's something that Israelis want." The Netherlands and Belgium are the only countries that permit couples of the same sex to wed. Others allow some form of civil unions, and Canada's parliament is currently debating legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage nationwide. Ontario is one of seven provinces that already allow marriage for gay and lesbian couples. Pinkas, 31, intends to marry his boyfriend of five years, Yoav Arad. In September the first openly gay man elected to the Knesset--Israel's parliament--also wed in Toronto. Uzi Even, now a university professor in Tel Aviv after serving one term in 2002, also anticipated that his wedding would spark debate in Israel and the eventual recognition of same-sex marriage. In Israel the Orthodox rabbinate has exclusive control of Jewish marriages under Israeli law. That means non-Orthodox rabbis are not allowed to perform marriage ceremonies, an increasingly unpopular law among Israelis that has led to many young couples going overseas to marry in civil ceremonies. Orthodox rabbis consider homosexuality an abomination and refuse to condone same-sex marriages. (AP)

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