Israel’s President Shimon Peres (Pic: David Shankbone)
Israel’s President Shimon Peres has revealed that he is in support of gay rights and same-sex unions.
Peres spoke to Ynet about LGBT equality while on a state visit to Mexico.
“Even a person who is a homosexual is a human being, and he has rights. We have no power to take away (their) rights,” the 90-year-old leader said.
Peres added that, “We cannot take away someone’s rights because they are different.
“We cannot take away their right to breathe, right to eat or right to start a family. We must allow everyone to live as is natural to them.”
While Israel is by far the most progressive country in the Middle East when it comes to gay and lesbian rights, the country is grappling with the issue of gay marriage.
While it recognises same-sex marriages licensed in other countries, Israel does not allow same-sex couples to marry on Israeli soil.
There are early plans to introduce legislation that would grant same-sex couples legal recognition and many of the same benefits that married straight couples enjoy.
It is not clear if and when the bill will be tabled or voted on by lawmakers.
Critics often accuse Israel of using its liberal stance towards homosexuality as a means to obscure human rights abuses against Palestinians.