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Thousands Protest Knesset’s Surrogacy Bill’s Exclusion of Gay Couples

Israel’s LGBTQ communities demonstrated in Tel Aviv on Saturday night against a looming bill on surrogacy that, if passed, would exclude gay couples.

Photo: Guy Cohen

The bill, which is expected to pass into law in its final readings at the Knesset on Monday, updates current legislation that only grants state-supported surrogacy for married heterosexual couples, by expanding the eligibility to single women.

But it still leaves out gay couples.

Chen Arieli, the chair of the Aguda opened her speech with a message to the South, at the end of a day in which Gaza border communities had been pounded by projectiles from Gaza.

“Our heart is with our LGBTQ sisters and brothers in the Gaza perimeter and in the IDF,” she said. “We are holding the demonstration to make our voices heard because the discrimination applies equally to all of us, and now that they are carrying the security burden, it is our duty to bear the burden of protest and struggle for them.”

“According to the prime minister’s fluent English we are in an LGBTQ paradise, but in reality our lives do not allow us to marry, we are not allowed to have children, and if we have already succeeded, we are overwhelmed by unnecessary difficulties. There is a limit to how much ‘no’ we can hear and we will not remain silent until the discrimination ends,” Arieli added.

Oded Frid, the LGBTQ community’s representative in the Knesset, said: “If there was a law that states that only women born in Israel can be mothers or a law that couples of settlers are forbidden to establish a family, no one would remain silent and hide behind excuses like coalition discipline. Whoever votes in favor of the surrogacy law this week – this is a vote against us. And we will not sit quietly while legislators make laws against us and trample on our basic rights.”

Yaniv Weizman, a council member of the Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality and founder of the Israel Gay Youth association, was also among the speakers.

The MC for the rally was Roni Belenki, the Vice President of the Aguda and the Israel Communities Manager of A Wider Bridge.

A Wider Bridge was live at the rally for LGBTQ Families!