Shas MK Nissim Zeev is doing a good job of maintaining his impressive record of attacks on gays, arguing about a month ago at the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee that Gay Pride parades "give legitimacy to the self-destruction of the State of Israel, of the Jewish people." He also compared the "danger" of gays to bird flu.
Mike Hamel, head of the gay rights group the Aguda (the Association of GLBT in Israel), filed a complaint against Zeev with the Knesset's Ethics Committee, which didn't cause much of a stir.
"All members of the committee think that MK Zeev's statement is on the extreme edge of violating the non-intervention that the committee has set," committee chairman MK Haim Oron (Meretz-Yahad) wrote to Hamel.
It's not clear if MK Shlomo Benizri knew about the Ethics Committee's decision when he announced in the Knesset plenum that the earthquakes in the region are caused by homosexual activity, but it's clear that Benizri knew how forgiving society in general, and the Knesset in particular, are toward unbridled attacks on gays. It's also clear that Benizri knew there would be no real public price to pay for a pornographic speech about quivering limbs that cause the earth to shake.
It would be interesting to know what exactly goes beyond the extreme edge of the Ethics Committee. The panel recently rebuked MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) for saying that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has blood on his hands and MK Moshe Sharoni (Pensioners) for saying the female parliamentary aides "either put out or get out."
It's not clear why the committee members think that the blood of Olmert and the parliamentary aides is redder than that of gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered Israelis. It is clear that the unending incitement against gays leads to violence, as seen by the stabbing at a previous Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem. The committee members should have ruled that precisely because of the waves of incitement against the gay and lesbian community, anyone who attacks them will be severely punished.
But it's not only in the Knesset that there's a feeling that people can say whatever they want about gays and lesbians. Two years ago, one of the heads of Yeshivat Har Etzion, Rabbi Yaakov Medan, published an article calling for a halt to the "abomination parade," as he referred to the World Pride parade that was supposed to take place in Jerusalem.
Medan compared the pride parade to the idolatrous infernos in the Hinnom Valley. Medan is also the rabbi who compiled the Gavison-Medan Covenant with Prof. Ruth Gavison, an important attempt at discussion between the religious and the secular. In other words, Medan is convinced he can talk about fraternity with his secular brothers out of one side of his mouth while verbally abusing his gay brothers out of the other side.
These people allow themselves to talk about gay people the way they wouldn't talk about people from any other sector, because public opinion allows them to do so. Benizri should have been removed from the plenum over his abominable words. Zeev should have been kicked out of the Constitution Committee over his bird flu speech.
A blacklist of homophobes should be distributed, to make it clear that a growing population sees homophobia as a repulsive deviance and expels it from its midst. The homophobes see the fact that these statements are accepted so easily as proof that only the bleeding-heart media are in favor of the gays, while the public is with them.
Moreover, Benizri, Zeev and Medan allow themselves to make such comments because they are convinced that a little homophobe, revolted by homosexual intercourse, lives in the heart of every secular person; they are convinced that all secular people would cave in upon hearing the statement, "You wouldn't want a gay child either."
And that's why the record needs to be set straight over and over again. A same-sex family is a family in every way. Same-sex love is just as great as any other kind of love. Same-sex marriage is joyous, just as it is wonderful when children are born to a same-sex couple. Gay and lesbian couples are entitled to partners' rights not because that's what the courts and the media decided, but because they are couples in every way.
There are things that parents very much do not want to befall their children - for instance, they do not want their kids to become criminals, use drugs or become religious, as Benizri did. A gay boy or a lesbian girl? Maybe it will be hard for the kids, but it's really no big deal.
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