“I think it’s a Jewish state’s right, maybe even its duty, to say to same-sex couples who decide to live their lives together—that’s not a family,” Minister of Education Shai Piron said in recent interview, according to tabletmag.com.
Piron, a rabbi, said he could not stomach the usage of terms like “a couple” or “a family” to describe same-sex unions.
However, he expressed his support for basic economic rights for gay Israelis.
“Piron’s statement would have been lamentable regardless, but the fact that it was made by the man helming Israel’s educational system is particularly troubling,” said the tabletmag.com report.
Instead of carrying out his mission, so central to Israel’s democracy, and sending a message that all human beings are worthy of dignity and liberty and respect, Piron chose to tell teachers, students, and parents—that their choices were invalid, unnatural, and wrong, the report said.
The minister’s remarks comes following Tel Aviv’s largest-ever gay pride parade where about 125,000 people marched in support of LGBT rights earlier this month.
Israel has been in the forefront of equality rights in the region where punishments for same-sex relations are the harshest in the world, very often legally sanctioned by the death penalty.
Same-sex sexual activity was legalized by Israel in 1988 and employment discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation were prohibited in 1992 and the Israeli parliament recently approved and passed a law prohibiting the discrimination in schools against students on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
However, pockets of social discrimination against the LGBT community do persist. Same-sex relations is somewhat stigmatized and considered strange by these people who have scuttled legal marriages between same-sex which still cannot be performed in the country.
Different initiatives to recognize same-sex marriage are currently stuck in the legislative process. One is that it does not change the legal definition of marriage, but only allow same-sex couples to enjoy the same rights as heterosexual couples through different clauses in the law.