Israeli Government Bans Marriage Equality TV Spot Featuring Israel’s Biggest Stars

A public service announcement featuring some of Israel’s biggest stars coming out in support of same-sex marriage has been banned from Israeli television because it openly advocates for marriage equality.

The Second Authority for Television and Radio, the public body that oversees the country’s commercial television and radio stations, pulled the minute-long spot, entitled “Human Rights: Because Without I’m Not Equal.”

The PSA features model and actress Galit Gutmann, social activist Daphni Leef and former Miss Israel Titi Aynow.

According to Haaretz:

In the ad, [Miss Israel Titi] Aynow [above], who is of Ethiopian origin, says: “The right to choose and marry whoever I want.” Her words are immediately followed by Adir Steiner, an LGBT activist who participated in the legal battle for the rights of same-sex couples, saying: “Even if I’m gay.”

The Second Authority banned the ad due to this sentence, stating that the law governing commercial television states the broadcaster will not broadcast any advertising that has a message on a “political, social, public or economic matter” that is in “public dispute.”

The Second Authority also took issue with the PSA’s inclusion of the Arabic language, specifically Israeli Arab singer Mira Awad’s line, “It is permitted to speak Arabic without fear.”

“In 2016, equality for the LGBT community and the right to speak Arabic are not matters under dispute,” remarked Dan Yakir, chief legal counsel for ACRI. “The state itself recognizes marriages of same-sex couples who married overseas and Arabic is an official language in Israel, so the reason for the ban is not at all clear.”