Following mass protests over a law passed last week that denies state-supported surrogacy to homosexual couples and single men, LGBT organizations presented a list of demands for the government at a press conference in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.
The organizations released a list of six demands: preventing crimes and violence against the community; recognition of LGBTQ families; adoption of welfare services to meet the community’s needs; equality in healthcare; education to aid the acceptance of the community; and budgeting for community resources.
Chen Arieli, chairman of Agudat Israel’s LGBT Task Force addressed the gathering at the community center in Gan Meir Park: “Last week has proved that the Israeli public is with us in the struggle for equality. 50,000 strikers who took to the streets from Kiryat Shmona to Beersheba and 100,000 demonstrators at the largest protest rally ever held by the LGBT community stand behind the demands we presented today.
“I say to the government – listen to the public voice and adopt the outline of the community organizations for equality. The struggle will continue until we receive a real commitment to change – not in declarations but in actions.”
The demands include harsher punishment for hate crimes committed against members of the community, amendment of the surrogacy law to include all men and women, adoption rights for LGBT couples, and inclusion of specific medical procedures and treatments in the public health basket.
Eran Globus, chairperson of the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance, said: “Whoever thinks that this is the end does not understand what country he lives in. The document of demands and the march of equality to the Jerusalem Gay Pride and Tolerance Parade on August 2 are the next stage of the struggle... We call upon the entire Israeli public to join us in the biggest LGBT protest that has ever been seen here.”
Oded Fried, the LGBTQ community’s representative in the Knesset said that the past week has shown how much Israeli society believes in equality for the community. “Our demands are the will of the nation. The time has come for the politicians to act for us and not for themselves or for the extreme minority that controls them.”
Responding to a question regarding reports that the Prime Minister’s Office had asked leaders of the community to arrange a meeting, Arieli responded that nobody from the government had approached them.
Moved to tears, Arieli spoke of the hard work, personal funds and time that leaders of the LGBT groups put into the cause, “paying a heavy price in their personal lives and carrying the burden of the struggle on their backs alone.”
Questioned over media reports that the Left was behind the recent protests, Arieli said it’s time for Israeli society to discard its binary viewpoint.
“We are not one block or another and we will cooperate with anyone who will help us advance our cause,” she said.