Committee Passes Inheritance Bill

Knesset bill seeks to give gay couples equal inheritance rights. Livni: Israeli society has changed, so must law

tzipyLivni-Featured-1The Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday approved an amendment to the Inheritance Law (1965) which would give same-sex couples the same inheritance rights of heterosexual couples.

The bill which was given the go-ahead on Sunday was advanced by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and backed by ministers from her Hatnua faction as well as Yesh Atid and Likud. It amends the laws of inheritance between partners, which today apply only to married couples and “A man and a woman living a family life in a joint household” to “A couple living a family life in a joint household.”

“The Inheritance Law was written in 1965,” Livni said, “but Israeli society today is advanced and much more accepting. Families in 2014 are much more diverse than they were in the 60s, and so it is only right that relevant legislation should change accordingly.”

The bill was opposed by ministers from Yisrael Beitenu and Jewish Home. It must still clear the Knesset plenum in order to become law.

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Activists from various organizations in the LGBT community congratulated Tzipi Livni this morning on her work towards equality. “This is a step that aims to promise that the attitude towards the LGBT community relies not only on court rulings, but also on the book of laws of the state of Israel,” said Udi Ledergor, executive director of Gay Fathers Org. “However, we saw other important laws, like MK German’s surrogacy bill, that passed the committee but failed to go through other obstacles to becoming a law, so we are waiting with cautious optimism until we see the law pass all the way through the Knesset. But the overall direction is great and the Minister’s initiation is amazing.”

“The process of defining the inheritance law in the civil codex of the state of Israel has been going on for years in the Israeli Knesset,” Aguda people told Mako Pride, “Last time it was the Minister of Justice and his supporters who insisted that the inheritance bill law should define a couple only as a man and a woman, in order to prevent inheritance from same sex couples. The return of Tzipi Livni to the Ministry of Justice brings a change of perception and another step in the right direction toward giving our partner the right to inherit in the law. We will follow the rest of the process closely, hoping that this time the law will pass with a vast majority.”