Gay Times in Israeli Prisons
Homosexual prisoners will be entitled to the same conjugal visits as heterosexual prisoners, a statement released by the Israel Prison Service confirmed.
The statement was issued in response to criticism that homosexual prisoners have been discriminated against by prison authorities in the past, `Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported Wednesday. It does not however reflect a change in policy.
"To avoid any doubt, the considerations are the same whether at issue are same-sex couples or heterosexual couples", wrote Aya Kaminetz, the Israeli Prison Service's head of prisoner and appeals department.
"Human rights, including the right to equality, do not stop at the prison gates. This is another important step in establishing that homosexual relationships are equivalent to heterosexual relationships", said Dan Yakir, legal adviser for the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, who originally queried the Prison Service's commitment to gay rights, of the statement.
Israel is known for its liberal and tolerant attitude towards homosexuals, and has a tradition of supporting gay rights legislation. One of the biggest and most flamboyant of international Gay Pride festivals takes place every year in Tel Aviv, a city which considers itself to have a strong gay identity.