Israeli Orthodox Lawmaker in Trouble Over Gay Nephew’s Wedding

To formally resign he would have to write to the Knesset chairman, a step he has not taken yet.

Mr. Guetta did not answer his cellphone or respond to text messages on Thursday, and the Shas Party was not commenting on the episode publicly. But Shas officials said privately that they hoped the compromise would happen and put an end to the story.

The wedding took place two years ago, before Mr. Guetta had entered Parliament.

Same-sex marriage is not officially recognized in Israel, nor is any mechanism of civil marriage, with the strictly Orthodox-controlled state rabbinate maintaining a monopoly on Jewish weddings. But some Israelis bypass the restrictions by holding ceremonies of their choice and formalizing their civil union with lawyers, or by marrying abroad.

Gays are welcomed in the Israeli military and are open about their sexual orientation in politics and other spheres. Tel Aviv, in particular, has a reputation as a gay-friendly destination and Israel has often promoted its tolerance toward the L.G.B.T. community as a beacon of pluralism and tolerance compared with some of its enemies, like Iran.

Two biblical verses, Leviticus 18 and 20, prohibit sexual relations between men, describing them as an abomination punishable by death. But rabbis have long debated the correct approach to homosexuality, and more liberal streams of Judaism, arguing that ancient laws need to allow room for new understandings, have embraced gay members and perform gay weddings.

But some sectors of Israeli society, including the ultra-Orthodox, view homosexuality as sinful. One Shas lawmaker, Shlomo Benizri, once blamed a minor earthquake that was felt across Israel on “homosexual activity practiced in the country.”

So it came as a bit of a bombshell when Mr. Guetta told Army Radio on Aug. 29, “Here’s a scoop, hold on tight.” He went on to relate that he had declined his gay nephew’s request for a blessing under the chuppa, or marriage canopy, but continued, “We all went to the wedding, me, my wife and all my children.” He told his children their attendance was mandatory, he said, though he also emphasized to them that such a wedding was forbidden under Jewish law.

The scandal has been brewing since. In a Sept. 6 post on his Facebook page, Mr. Guetta wrote: “I would like to clarify that a handful of people are trying to spread some twisted things in my name, as if I gave legitimacy to forbidden acts. This is a lie and a distortion.” He wrote that he…

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