12:05 GMT24 January 2020
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    The legislation was rejected because it mentioned same-gender couples as possible surrogate parents.

    Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Tel Aviv after the Knesset voted down an amendment to a bill on surrogate parenthood which would have allowed same-gender couples to become parents via surrogacy. The bill itself, which extends those surrogacy rights to single women, passed the Knesset vote.

    "Netanyahu is a homophobe, so we took to the streets," one of the banners read. "Homophobia is terrorism, no excuse will help," read another.

    "The Knesset launched a war against the gay community today, and the community will fight back," one of the protest organizers said. "The prime minister's smiling face while he voted for hatred and against the gay community shows his huge disconnect with the government."

    ​Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voted against the amendment that would have extended surrogacy rights to same-gender couples, Haaretz reports.

    In response to the criticism, the prime minister attempted to justify his vote by saying the amendment would "torpedo" the bill it was attached to, the main goal of which was to allow single women to become parents through surrogacy. He said he would support a similar bill that would extend surrogacy rights to single men.

    ​"I support surrogacy for single fathers," Netanyahu said Sunday in a closed meeting with Likud party MPs.

    As Channel 10 news reported, Netanyahu acted out of political necessity, as ultra-Orthodox parties, which oppose giving gay men the right to father children through surrogacy, would have voted down the entire bill, had the amendment been included.

    Several lawmakers openly blasted Netanyahu for his nay vote, despite his earlier support, the Times of Israel Reports. Yoel Hasson and Stav Shaffir of the opposition Zionist Union faction were removed from the plenum hall for booing Bibi during the vote.

    Yair Lapid, leader of the opposition Yesh Atid party, reportedly called Netanyahu a "liar."

    "Two days ago during a Likud faction meeting, Netanyahu said that he supports a change in the bill to enable LGBT people to become parents," he said in a statement. "On the same day, he posted a video in which he repeated — both in words and in writing — his commitment to support the change… I have never said this before about a prime minister of Israel, but I have no choice: liar."

    Apparently, the prime minister has decided to tackle the issue in small steps, so as to avoid outrage from Orthodox lawmakers. Netanyahu promised to support the extension of surrogate parenthood to gay couples in the next parliamentary session, The Times of Israel cited sources close to prime minister as saying.

    Before the vote, only married heterosexual couples were allowed to become parents through surrogacy. While same-gender couples are allowed in the form of unregistered cohabitation, Israel does not recognize non-religious marriages performed in the country, though it makes an exception for foreigners.


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    surrogate mother, adoption, legislation, protest, same-sex marriage, Likud Party, Knesset, Netanyahu, Israel, Tel Aviv
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