Officials at Bar-Ilan University in Israel have decided to allow a once-canceled LGBT Pride event, and a university spokesman has apologized for a statement comparing homosexuality to pedophilia.
The university and the National Union of Israeli students announced Thursday that the event, set for Sunday, could go on, The Jerusalem Post reports. LGBT organizations will set up information booths in public spaces on campus, and musicians will perform between classes.
Earlier in the week, Bar-Ilan officials had said the event could not go on as planned due to the university's religious character and proposed an alternative event; students said the university administrators proposed counseling by rabbis and pscyhologists for LGBT attendees; the school denied that claim.
But criticism by LGBT activists focused on university spokesman Haim Zisowitz, who told Israeli newspaper Haaretz that allowing an LGBT event would be like hosting one that celebrates pedophilia. While claiming his comments were taken out of context, he apologized via Facebook, saying he wanted to use an example of something that would violate Jewish religious law and "for some reason, I chose pedophilia," a decision he characterized retrospectively as "stupid." He also said he is not antigay and that he supports civil marriage rights for same-sex couples.
While most of those who practice Orthodox Judaism generally frown on those who identify as LGBT, other branches of the faith are accepting of LGBT people.