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Why Israel Might Increase Gay Dads’ Tax Break

Why Israel Might Increase Gay Dads’ Tax Break

The Israeli parliament is considering giving gay fathers the same tax breaks as mothers in a debate that reveals some tensions among women’s rights, LGBT rights and fairness for people without children.

Israel gives parents a tax break, like the U.S.’s child tax credit, but it gives a bigger break to mothers than to fathers in an attempt to encourage women to return to the workplace. Since the parents in male same-sex couples are both men, they both receive the lower amount, and their combined credit is less than what heterosexual couples get. Over the 18 years that a child is eligible for the tax credit, a heterosexual couple could rake in tens of thousands of dollars.

Roi Mor and Eran Sikurel, two men who have a child, kicked off the debate when they demanded an equal tax break. “This is about our son’s right to an equal starting point,” Sikurel said. His statement is a reminder that while the money may be intended to help women resume paying work, it can also improve a child’s lot in life by increasing her family’s income. Research has found that higher income correlates with greater academic success for children.

As the law stands, two mothers in a lesbian relationship would receive more money than either a heterosexual or gay male couple, because they would receive double the higher women’s tax break.

True to stereotypical form, the parliament member who heads the faction that opposes giving an equal tax break to gay dads defended herself by noting that she has friends who are gay. The politician, Ayelet Shaked, claims that she opposes the proposed legislation because she opposes same-sex marriage. She has advocated changing tax regulations directly rather than adopting legislation to even out the child tax credits because she fears that a statute granting LGBT couples equality in the tax arena could pave the way to legalizing same-sex marriage by recognizing it de facto. She is not the only government official making this argument.

After vetoing the measure once, the opponents reached a compromise with backers on Tuesday December 3rd to alter the bill’s text to clarify that it is not a recognition of same-sex partnerships.

The child tax break isn’t contingent on marriage. In Israel the religious establishment controls weddings, forbids same-sex marriages, and civil marriages don’t exist, but unmarried parents can still qualify for the credit.

From a women’s rights perspective, there is good reason for the different gender-linked payment amounts: Israeli women make only 66 percent of men’s income. They are more likely to need financial help than men are; for the same reason, heterosexual couples likely earn less than male couples.

It is not surprising that the government wants more women to participate in the workforce, since only 29.6 percent of them have full-time jobs outside the home. With their lower pay, they are less likely than men are to be able to afford childcare so they can go back to work — hence the gender inequality in the government subsidy.

Meanwhile, people who choose not to have children argue that government subsidies for parents are unfair. In the United States, only about one quarter of tax-paying households receive the child tax credit. They don’t necessarily take issue with gay couples’ battle to receive the same amount that heterosexual couples do, but they do resent the fact that the break, which funnels public funds from non-parents to parents, exists at all. It isn’t likely that Israel’s Knesset will be taking those concerns into consideration anytime soon.

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Photo credit: Thinkstock/BananaStock

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50 comments

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7:23AM PST on Dec 11, 2013

thanks

4:47AM PST on Dec 11, 2013

This whole debate is promoting an illness/ sickness out of our society and children have become the meat in the sandwich or maybe that should read the bsit so others will join the gay brigade.And the straight women will be the breeding mares to feed their demand, just so they get a higher tax concession. Talk about an illness that's becoming a plague.

4:40AM PST on Dec 11, 2013

How can we have true equality when men and woman are built different or is it the NWO intent to have us all being engineered to look the same physically and the children being made on a production line like loaves of bread.

4:35AM PST on Dec 11, 2013

Israel should treat people equally. Thanks for sharing.

1:21AM PST on Dec 11, 2013

Complete equality. For everyone. Everywhere. Always.

1:11AM PST on Dec 11, 2013

Since Israeli women only earn 66 percent as much as men, two gay men are likely to earn more than a man and a woman. The intent behind giving women a larger tax break is to somewhat mitigate this imbalance. While I can see how two gay men would feel it is unfair, it seems to me the spirit of the law is followed when they get two smaller men's tax breaks.

4:43PM PST on Dec 10, 2013

"people who choose not to have children argue that government subsidies for parents are unfair. In the United States, only about one quarter of tax-paying households receive the child tax credit."

+++++++++++++++ No doubt these are the loving, compassionate people who argue that children are gifts from their god?

6:08AM PST on Dec 10, 2013

Equality in taxation systems is always in the eye of the payer! However, I see no justification for the Israeli government to penalize the same sex parents, when that is effectively penalizing the child. Thank you for sharing.

2:41PM PST on Dec 9, 2013

I believe in equality in all things, if one exception is made then it will be used as an example by those who seek to return to a far less equal society.

12:21PM PST on Dec 9, 2013

If it's an individual subsidy, which it seems to be, and if the intent is to equalize pay between women and men, then theoretically two men in a relationship would already make more than two women in a relationship. Therefore, the subsidy at it's current levels is a reasonable one.

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