Israeli legislator quits in dispute over nephew's gay wedding

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 13, 2017 7:55 AM

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - An ultra-Orthodox Jewish lawmaker resigned from the Israeli legislature on Wednesday after drawing rabbis' wrath for attending his gay nephew's wedding.

Yigal Guetta of the Shas party said in an Israeli radio interview earlier this week that he and his family had gone to the celebration, held two years ago in Israel, because he wanted his sister's son to be happy, although gay marriage violated his own religious beliefs.

A letter published on Monday by five prominent Israeli rabbis said same-sex marriage is an "abomination". Accusing Guetta of "desecrating God's will", they called on his party to fire him.

Guetta made no immediate public statement after his resignation was confirmed by party officials.

The newspaper Haaretz quoted a source close to the politician as saying he had refused to apologize and decided to quit, to avoid being asked to do so by Shas's own religious sages, who set party policy.

Same-sex weddings held in Israel are not sanctioned by the state, and only Orthodox rabbis can issue marriage licenses. Couples may marry without a license, but the union won't be officially recognized.

Israel does recognize same-sex couples who marry abroad and any other non-Orthodox weddings performed outside of the country.

(Reporting by Jeffrey Heller, editing by Larry King)