The Knesset plenum approved this week the preliminary reading of a bill proposed by Hadash Knesset Member Dov Khenin (Joint List) that states wherever and whenever Israeli law refers to discrimination, it will also means discrimination “on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.” If passed in its second and third readings the law would widen the scope of all previous anti-discrimination legislation passed by the Knesset
Thirty-seven MKs supported the motion, with 36 voting against it. When it became clear to the assembled lawmakers that the law was going to receive enough votes to pass, members of the opposition cheered and hugged one another.
Khenin responded to the first reading approval of the legislation, saying: “It is forbidden to discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. These are things that need to be taken for granted by anyone who wants to live in a proper society that treats people with respect.”
“The Knesset plenum has passed a bill that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, despite the coalition’s attempt to defeat it,” Khenin said. “Different people are equal. It’s forbidden to discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Likud MK Amir Ohana and Kulanu MK Merav Ben-Ari from the ruling coalition appeared to break party lines and voted in favor of the legislation, helping it achieve a paper-thin majority. Both lawmakers have identified with the LGBT community and previously voted in favor of legislation supporting it: Ohana is Likud’s first openly gay MK; Ben-Ari gave birth last year to a child with a gay friend, with both raising the baby in the form of shared parenting.