Knesset okays preliminary reading to revoke gay marriage ruling
By Gideon Alon, Haaretz Correspondent
Two weeks after the High Court of Justice issued a precedent-setting ruling authorizing five gay couples married abroad to be registered legally in Israel, the Knesset plenum on Wednesday approved in a preliminary hearing a bill to rescind the court’s ruling.
The bill, which was initiated by MK Michael Eitan and approved in accelerated proceedings by a majority of 33-31, would prohibit the Population Registry from recognizing the unions until the Knesset has issued legislation approving same-sex marriages. The bill calls for a status quo on the issue, considering that Israel does not recognize homosexual marriages.
All MKs from Likud, Shas, Yisrael Beiteinu, United Torah Judaism, National Union - National Religious Party, and three MKs from Kadima voted in favor of the proposal. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Minister Meir Sheetrit were among those who opposed rescinding the ruling.
The High Court approval had been obtained by a sweeping majority of six justices to one, ruling that the civil marriages of five gay couples obtained in Toronto, Canada, can appear as married on the population registry.
The gay petitioners sought to force the state to give equal recognition to common law marriages of heterosexual couples to those of gay marriages, which can be performed in certain countries.
The court rejected the position of the State Attorney, that states recognizing single-sex marriages cannot expect Israel to recognize such nuptial agreements drawn in these countries.