2022 YIR: Success of Former Atlanta LGBTQ+ Couple May be Last
New Israeli government will include an outspoken homophobic man.
If the statements made by an incoming member of the next Israeli government coalition translate into either new legislation or judicial reform, members of the LGBTQ+ community in the country may not see successes like they have in the past year.
The head of the one-man Noam faction that was part of the far-right Religious Zionism voting slate, Avi Maoz, has stated his plan to cancel the annual Jerusalem Pride Parade. Although incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu contended that the parade would continue, it’s unclear how much influence Maoz will have in other areas impacting the gay and lesbian community.
Just this last June, former members of Atlanta’s Congregation Bet Haverim, Neta Cohen and Meital Gutman, scored a victory in an Israeli court that ruled both women could be recognized as the parents of their two children, rather than just Gutman who had given birth to the children in the U.S. via sperm donation.
Initially, when the couple moved to Israel, the government refused to recognize both of them as the boys’ parents, despite both women’s names being on the children’s birth certificates, which is all that is required for straight couples. Cohen and Gutman were the first LGBTQ+ family in Israel to be recognized as parents solely on the basis of a birth certificate.
That ruling was followed by an Israeli Supreme Court decision that a non-biological parent, who had been granted parenthood status by court order, could not be deprived of that status if the couple separates.
Although both rulings were considered positive signals for the future in the LGBTQ+ community, that was tempered after the results of the last Israeli elections on Nov. 1. Outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid had vowed to pass a civil marriage law and give legal status to single-sex families. But his government will now be replaced by a new right-wing and ultra-religious coalition government headed by Netanyahu.
Even before his new government is sworn in, the LGBTQ+ community is protesting what 200 school principals are calling Maoz’s “racist, homophobic, dark and extreme views.” And the organization that runs the Jerusalem Pride Parade is fundraising against those views, while spoofing Maoz. The group created a charity in his name and noted that Maoz would receive a personal thank-you note for every donation made in his “honor.”