Israeli government votes down LGBT anti-discrimination law

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The Israeli government has voted down an amendment extending anti-discrimination protections to LGBT people.

The opposition legislation, which had been proposed by MK Ofer Shelah of Yesh Atid, would have extended all existing anti-discrimination legislation to protect based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

However, the governing coalition voted down the change in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Mr Shelah told the newspaper: “Only [Likud minister] Gila Gamliel had the courage to support the amendment.

“Such a simple matter, that all laws prohibiting discrimination should apply to discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, did not get the approval of the current government.

“On Pride Week, some of the Likud tried to paint rainbows on their faces. Don’t be fooled: Behind that, you’ll find their true faces.”

The country’s Equal Employment Law already outlaws discrimination in work based on sexual orientation – but anti-discrimination legislation is still patchwork, with gender identity not included.

Same-sex marriages are recognised in Israel, but must be conducted overseas as only Jewish, Christian, Muslim or Druze religious authorities can perform marriages, and none offer gay couples the chance to marry.

Like mixed faith straight couples, gay couples must marry in another country such as France or Canada, but once they do, they are recognised as a married couple in the Jewish state.

The Israeli Parliament has repeatedly voted against introducing civil marriage for gay and straight couples.