Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Family Status: Partnership

One of my little obsessions has to do with parliaments. The elected bodies, not the cigarettes. When at my mother's house watching Israel's channel 99, the Knesset channel, my mother asks rhetorically what would they do without me, their lone viewer.

While I have not voted for Meretz since 1992, and while I am content that the Israeli left-wing electorate has punished the party for its support of the wars on Lebanon and Gaza, I must admit that I am happy that their #3, Nitzan Horowitz, was sworn in today as a member of the 18th Knesset. On his official bio page, his "Family Status" is listed as "Partnership." His partner, Ido Riklin, was reported to have been in attendance at the swearing in. The first bill that MK Horowitz has pledged to introduce would be one that would end the backwards monopoly of religious authorities on matrimony and divorce in Israel.

Whether the bill stands a chance in parliament is extremely doubtful. But its mere introduction is a must in light of the current bill proposed and supported by neo-Fascist MK Avigdor Lieberman, which aims to provide civil unions, mostly to immigrants from the former USSR whose Judaism is not recognized by the Chief Rabbinate. That bill, surprise surprise, would leave even this weakened civil union to heterosexual couples only. Horowitz's bill calls for full-fledged marriage, performed in secular civil proceedings, to any couple, gay or straight, Jewish of not, who chooses to do so. Plain and simple.

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