A true pride parade took place today for the two homosexual couples whose petition was accepted Tuesday by the High Court of Justice.
“It was just a small step in the comprehensive struggle for equal rights for homosexuals and lesbians, especially in light of what is happening with homophobia running rampant,” said Yosi Ben-Ari, who was to be registered as married to Laurent Shomen in the population registry following Tuesday’s High Court of Justice ruling.
Ben-Ari said that after years of living “in sin”, he would finally have his desired marital status. “It’s a great feeling. Our next step is to go to the interior ministry when the strikes end, in order to register as a married couple after 21 years,” he said.
“In principle, it’s not recognition, but merely registration in the interior ministry. Still, it’s a encouraging boost,” he explained.
Sefi Bar-Lev, Yaron Lahav’s partner, hoped that the court’s ruling would advance the issue of all unacknowledged marriages in all establishments. He and his lawful husband promised to celebrate with their parents.
“I have a feeling of great satisfaction that the petition was accepted. It is joyous because we got what we wanted. Still, it’s not the end of the struggle,” he said.
Celebrating their victory (Photo: Haim Zach)
Bar-Lev explained, “The next step will be for other couples like us, not just homosexuals, but all unrecognized couples who marry abroad, to receive recognition at the population registry. We still can’t marry in the country and that is a discrimination that must be fixed.”
He also responded to criticism in the political system, particularly on the part of the religious factions, and said, “It’s a shame they don’t turn that immense passion in more positive and productive directions.”
Bar-Lev explained that the ruling was important on a personal level, because it provided a feeling of relief from discrimination and injustice. He added that the decision would also affect rights that married couples take for granted such as inheritance, tax, and adoption rights.
Tel Aviv residents Itai Pinkas (32) and Yoav Arad (34), who were married in Toronto last year, would also benefit from the decision although they did not join the petition. Pinkas, a member of the Tel Aviv city council, said, “As far as I’m concerned, this is the real pride parade.”
Aviram Zino contributed to this article