Israel introduces tax bill to benefit unmarried gay parents

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The Israeli political party Yesh Atid (Hebrew for “There is a Future”) proposed a bill to ensure that gay couples with children have the same right to tax benefits as straight couples.

The bill, introduced by social activist and Member of Parliament Adi Kol, would mean recognition of gay parents under the tax code. The original bill would also have meant the recognition of domestic partnerships as well as same-sex marriages in Israel.

However, Yesh Atid’s plan to incorporate the recognition of same-sex partnerships into the bill has been vetoed by opposing conservative party Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home).

Instead, the Bayit Yehudi proposed an alternate bill that would maintain equal tax benefits to gay couples but would still not recognize domestic partnerships.

The Yesh Atid is in coalition with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, alongside the Hatnuah and Yisrael Beiteinu parties. As a part of the coalition, they allowed Bayit Yehudi the permission to veto any legislation related to religion and state.

At present, because people may only have religious marriages, recognizing same-sex unions in the new bill affect both religious and state affairs, allowing the Bayit Yehudi to reject the bill.

The religious restrictions on marriage not only prohibit marriage equality but also mixed-faith marriages. Despite this restriction, both forms of marriage are recognized in Israel as long as they are conducted overseas.

Currently the tax code grants different child benefits to men and women, meaning male gay couples do not receive the same benefits as straight or lesbian couples. If the bill passes it will allow all parents—gay, straight or lesbian—equal child benefits.

429Magazine

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