poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

The fight for gay rights is far from won
By Shahar Ilan

One reason for the absence of many members of the homosexual community from the Gay Pride parade, reported Itay Katz on Friday, was a pervading feeling that most of the community's greatest social battles have already been won. That is based on a number of victories in the courts and society's wide acceptance of same-sex couples.

However, a claim filed by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) in March in the Labor Court, which did not receive much attention, demonstrates just how unfounded that perception of battles won can be. ACRI's legal adviser, attorney Dan Yakir, says the legal achievements of the gay and lesbian community are only partial. Some were mandated by lower courts and others were won outside the courtroom. Consequently, they are not locked into binding and precedent setting legal standards.

"There is a lot of unresolved discrimination and a law needs to be passed." Beyond that, each specific case commits only the organization that is directly concerned. For example, in June 2001, the Tel Aviv Labor Court decided that a same-sex couple was entitled to a survivor's pension from the Mivtahim insurance fund. However, this was a decision made by a lower court, and consequently does not represent a precedent - it is doubtful if all the other pension funds will consider themselves obliged to follow it.

If, for example, there were at least the feeling that the civil service recognized single-sex partners as the equivalent of a common-law wife or husband, and entitled them to rights equivalent to those of heterosexual partners, it would be one thing. The fact is, there is still a long way to go.


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