Tel Aviv 'Challenges the Government' by Announcing Recognition of Civil Partnerships

Couples who declare themselves civil partners will receive the same benefits as married couples in terms of municipal services, in a step forward for same-sex, interfaith couples

Bar Peleg
Lee Yaron
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People celebrate at Tel Aviv Pride, June 18, 2019.
People celebrate at Tel Aviv Pride, June 18, 2019.Credit: Ofer Vaknin
Bar Peleg
Lee Yaron

The Tel Aviv Municipality announced on Sunday that it will allow couples to declare their relationship, and to enjoy all the benefits provided to married couples by the municipality. Couples will be able to go to city hall with a declaration stating that they are living together, and to register as a couple in the municipal registry to be established for this purpose.

Any couple will be able to register in the couples registry, including LGBTQ couples; couples of different religions, who cannot marry according to state laws; and secular couples who don’t want to marry in the rabbinate. The couples will receive discounts on property taxes, registering their children for preschools and community centers, and at all municipal leisure and cultural facilities.

“In honor of gay pride week, we decided to challenge the government and enable partnership registration based on a declaration,” said Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai. The initiator of the couples registry, city council member Etai Pinkas-Arad, added: “The Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality is now clearly saying that equality is a basic municipal value, and is adding a service of municipal partnership registration, which means that all the couples in the city are of equal value and have equal rights.”

In June 2019, Pinkas-Arad said that the city was examining the possibility of allowing city hall to conduct civil marriages, as happens in many places around the world. 

“If we manage to find a way to act on the matter, Tel Aviv will be the pioneer, the beacon on the issue,” said Pinkas-Arad. But he said the municipal recognition of marriage is a complex legal issue relating to the question of the status of local governments and the central government, and also to a certain extent on a political level, he said.

“The Tel Aviv municipality believes that it is proper to transfer as much civil authority as possible to the responsibility of the local government, but we live in a country of law and the transfer of authority is not subject to the discretion of the local government,” he added.

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