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Knesset Rejects Civil Marriage Bill

Civil marriage shot down in landslide vote; Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu attends to personally place opposing vote.
By Hezki Ezra
First Publish: 6/11/2014, 3:41 PM

Gay pride parade, Tel Aviv (file). Civil marriage rejected by  Knesset on Wednesday.
Gay pride parade, Tel Aviv (file). Civil marriage rejected by Knesset on Wednesday.
Flash90

The Knesset rejected Labor Mk Stav Shafir's Civil Marriage bill Wednesday, which lost to a landslide vote of 19 for and 52 against. 

Both Yesh Atid and Likud wholeheartedly rejected the civil marriage bill; surprisingly, even many members of Justice Minister Tzipi Livni's left-leaning HaTnua party also abstained from voting. In addition, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu himself entered the voting hall to cast his opposing vote. 

Shafir was reportedly shocked at the outcome, accusing several MKs and Ministers - specifically Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, Culture Minister Limor Livnat (Likud), and Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) of reneging on promises to support the civil marriage bill. 

Shafir turned to Knesset members of the coalition and asked them, "How this vote is consistent with the statements you have made, and where are all the promises you have distributed to members of the gay community?"

"It seems you suffer from a strange phenomenon, as a member of the coalition: a split personality," she added. "Your mouth says one thing, but your hands do another." 

Lapid has stated previously that he would work to counter "the dominance of orthodox rabbis" over marriage, specifically vowing to "anchor civil marriage into Israeli society." 

On the other hand, several MKs, including Housing Minister Uri Ariel, vowed several months ago to prevent the bill from passing its preliminary stages. The issue of civil marriage had threatened the critical alliance between Yesh Atid and Jewish Home as well, which analysts say may explain Lapid's sudden turnaround.