More than a Dream: The Freedom to Marry in Israel

Later this month, leader of The Freedom To Marry, Evan Wolfson, will return to Israel as part of his efforts to help advancing marriage equality in various parts of the world. A Wider Bridge’s Deputy Director Tyler Gregory explains the importance of Evan’s upcoming visit.

On that fateful June afternoon in 2015 when we learned marriage equality was the law of the land, the image that stuck most for me was America’s seat of power, the White House, lit up in joyous rainbow colors.

On the same day in Israel, our friends toasted to our landmark victory, and sought to capture momentum in their own struggle for same-sex and civil marriage. The graphic above of the Knesset, an imaginary photo of the building draped in rainbow colors, went viral on social media in the LGBTQ Israeli community the next day. Momentum is indeed on our side – a poll last week found that 55% of Israelis support marriage outside the rabbinate.

We long for the day all Israelis – LGBTQ couples and others unable to get married in Israel today through the Rabbinate (interfaith, secular, and many more couples) are recognized as equal under Israeli law. A Wider Bridge is joining the coalition for Civil Marriage in Israel, because we know from our own experience just how transformative marriage equality can be, not only for LGBTQ equality, but also for building a stronger, more accepting society.

Today we’re proud to announce A Wider Bridge will sponsor Freedom to Marry founder Evan Wolfson’s visit to Israel on May 27, where our partners, The Aguda – Israel LGBTQ Task Force and Israel Hofsheet, are organizing high-level meetings with LGBTQ and civil marriage leaders and NGOs. AWB is also proud to present the Israel premiere of Eddie Rosenstein’s new documentary, The Freedom to Marry, in TLVfest, Tel Aviv’s annual LGBTQ film festival.

Evan Wolfson: “I am thrilled to once again return to Israel and have the opportunity to meet with organizations and advocates working to establish civil marriage for both gay and non-gay couples, ending an anomaly and injustice unworthy of a democracy such as Israel.  Israel has a strong record of inclusion and respect for LGBT people and couples. It is time that we, and our non-gay brothers and sisters, also have the freedom to marry in this beautiful country.”

Marriage equality in Israel is a civil issue, not just an LGBTQ issue, and will be won by a broad coalition. Yet our LGBTQ community’s energy and record of achievement in this arena around the world has become a potent force for change.

If we channel our inner Herzl together, the rainbow-covered Knesset will be more than a dream.