Israelis Stage Mass Wedding to Advocate for Gay Rights

In Israel political rights for the gay community lag behind increasingly widespread cultural acceptance

Gay couples take part in a mass same-sex wedding in Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, June 4, 2019
AP Photo/Oded Balilty

Hundreds of Israelis have participated in a mass wedding in Tel Aviv to demand the right to same-sex marriage ahead of the country’s Gay Pride week.

Tuesday’s event involved an unofficial wedding ceremony for 23 gay couples, who walked down the aisle, took vows and danced at a banquet, cheered by friends, family and supporters.

The annual pride parade, set for June 14, draws flocks of foreign visitors to Israel, which flaunts itself as one of the world’s most gay-friendly tourist destinations.

Yet political rights for Israel’s gay community lag behind increasingly widespread cultural acceptance.

Jewish ultra-Orthodox parties, which wield significant influence in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government and have a monopoly over matters of religion and state, have rejected legislation that condones homosexuality, which they see as defying Jewish law.