Israeli Justice Minister to promote inheritance law for same-sex couples

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The Justice Minister of Israel, Tzipi Livni, is planning to promote an amendment in its inheritance law when the Knesset (the government’s legislative branch) reconvenes on May 11, allowing same-sex partners to inherit from one another.

Currently the inheritance law only applies to heterosexual married couples, as well as “a man and a woman who conduct family life in a joint household.”

A bill similar to Livni’s was proposed in 2011, but failed to pass into law. With opinions constantly changing, the new legislation could stand a chance, although it is likely to be opposed by the religious nationalist political party Habayit Hayehudi (The Jewish Home).

Last month the Habayit Hayehudi blocked a bill that would have allowed single people and same-sex couples to use surrogate mothers.

The Yisrael Beiteinu party have also made it clear they will not back any civil union bills that include same-sex couples.

Still, Livni remains determined despite the opposition. “Love is love, and a family is a family, and it’s inconceivable that the law allows for institutional discrimination,” Livni told Haaretz. “The Inheritance Law was legislated in 1965, but Israeli society has progressed and is much more inclusive.

“Families in 2014 are much more varied than they were in the 1960s, making it only proper that the relevant laws be changed accordingly,” she added.

She intends to change the wording of the law by introducing gender-neutral wording, so it could read: “partners who conduct family life in a joint household,” which would include same-sex couples.

Even with various parties opposing or burying legislation that further advances LGBT rights, the coalition has successfully introduced bills to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation, as well as placing children of same-sex couples on an equal status to those with heterosexual parents.

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