district court ruled Sunday that local authorities have no
right to ban the annual gay pride march, due to take place
in the city this week, a legal source told Agence
France-Presse. The court said that the municipal
council "did not have the right to discriminate against
a section of the population because of sexual orientation,"
the source said. The court also ordered the
municipality to pay legal costs of more than $6,000,
the news agency reported.
On Friday, Israeli interior minister Ofir Pines
ordered the municipal council to allow the fourth
annual gay pride march to take place in Jerusalem on
Thursday. The municipality had expressed opposition to the
parade in a letter to organizers, warning it would be "a
provocation and upset the sentiments of the wider
public who live in or are visiting the city."
Since June 2004, the municipality has been
headed by Mayor Uri Lupolianski, an Orthodox Jew.
Organizers of the "Love Without Borders" parade
dismissed the letter and pledged to appeal the
municipality's ban to the supreme court. Last month
organizers of WorldPride, an international gay
pride event also scheduled for Jerusalem, had to
postpone it to 2006 from its original date of this
August because it would have taken place at the same
time as Israel's evacuation of all troops and settlers
from the Gaza Strip. With the majority of Israeli
police being recruited for the Gaza pullout, the
organizers realized there would not be enough forces to
ensure the safety of festivalgoers at the event, which
has faced fierce opposition from senior Muslim,
Christian, and Jewish clerics as well as at the grassroots