Photo: Amit Shabi
PM Benjamin Netanyahu
Photo: Amit Shabi

Surrogacy bill excluding LGBT couples passes into law

Despite saying he will not support the surrogacy bill while it excludes same-sex couples, Netanyahu votes in favor of the legislation, causing uproar in the Knesset plenum; Likud says PM will late vote on amendment including LGBT couples.

The Knesset passed into law the surrogacy bill on Wednesday, prompting the ire of the LGBT community after same-sex couples were excluded from it.



The surrogacy law allows single mothers and heterosexual couples who cannot have children use the services of a surrogate mother to become parents.


However, it excludes homosexual couples, preventing them from becoming parents through the surrogacy process.


Netanyahu votes in favor surrogacy bill    (Photo: Amit Shabi)
Netanyahu votes in favor surrogacy bill (Photo: Amit Shabi)


Likud MK Amir Ohana, a representative of the LGBT community, raised a reservation to the bill over the fact it excludes gay couples. Ohana is himself gay, the father of two children from a surrogate mother.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who leads the Likud Party, said Monday he supported surrogacy for single mothers as well as for same-sex couples. The prime minister expressed his support for Ohana's reservation and his proposal to amend the legislation so it includes gay couples as well.


Furthermore, Netanyahu indicated that if the bill cannot be amended before the end of the Knesset's summer session, the vote on the legislation will be postpone to the next Knesset session.


Despite that, Netanyahu voted in favor of the bill in its current version and against MK Ohana's reservations.


Knesset votes on surrogacy bill (Photo: Amit Shabi)
Knesset votes on surrogacy bill (Photo: Amit Shabi)


The prime minister had to vote in favor of the bill after the Kulanu party announced it too would support the same-sex couples' objection to it.


Coalition head David Amsalem promised he would ensure Netanyahu voted in favor of the legislation, leading the Kulanu Party to toe the coalition's line and also vote in favor, with the exception of MK Meirav Ben-Ari.


According to the Likud Party, the prime minister "voted in favor the surrogacy bill for single mothers, which received the support of the coalition, and constitutes an important step to support single mothers."


"At a later stage, as the prime minister said during the Likud faction meeting, he will support the amendment proposed by MK Amir Ohana, which will enable same-sex couples to use the services of a surrogate mother," the Likud faction statement said.


"The prime minister's vote does not 'contradict his statements,'" the Likud Party concluded.


Netanyahu's vote caused uproar in the Knesset, leading to the removal of Zionist Union MKs Stav Shaffir and Yoel Hasson from the plenum.


"My anger regarding the surrogacy law is not directed at the ultra-Orthodox, but rather at the prime minister," said MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union). "Why are you lending a hand to this? Why did you post a video, which is all deception, saying you will support the amandment to the bill (to include same-sex couples-ed) in the future?"


MK Tzipi Livni (Photo: Yoav Dudkevich)
MK Tzipi Livni (Photo: Yoav Dudkevich)

Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid also expressed his anger, saying, "Netanyahu promised two days ago to support the amendment to the bill allowing the LGBT community to also become parents. On the same day, he posted a video reiterating his promise to support the amendment as well as declaring this promise in writing."


"The bill has just gone up to a vote in the plenum and Netanyahu voted against (the amendment)," Lapid added. "I've never said that about a prime minister in Israel, but this time I have no choice: He is a liar."


MK Yair Lapid (Photo: Amit Shabi)
MK Yair Lapid (Photo: Amit Shabi)


In a joint statement, MKs Amir Ohana and Merav Ben-Ari said that "In light of the expected approval of the surrogacy bill on behalf of the Health Ministry and in light of the prime minister's positive comments on the topic, we've formulated and submitted an amendment. Gay couples will be able to turn to the surrogacy, among others. The amendment, which reflects the values of the Likud and Kulanu, will be sponsored by the two parties." 


"Our amendment is a big step forward to those who seek to bring life into this world, to establish and raise families in Israel," the two MKs continued.


MKs Merav Ben-Ari and Amir Ohana (Photo: Yoav Dudkovitz, Alex Kolomoisky)
MKs Merav Ben-Ari and Amir Ohana (Photo: Yoav Dudkovitz, Alex Kolomoisky)


"The amendment will go up to vote in the Ministerial Committee immediately upon the opening of the Knesset's winter session. We will have many MKs from the coalition and opposition sign the amendment, and we will act to promote it," Ohana and Ben-Ari's statement concluded.


Elements of the LGBT community announced a general strike immediately after Netanyahu had voted in favor of the surrogacy bill and called upon the LGBT community's members to miss work, close their businesses and take part in protest activities in the public space on Sunday.  






פרסום ראשון: 07.18.18, 18:29
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