Aug 1st, 2018
81% of the Israeli public supports official state recognition of marriage or couples' registrations; including 53% of Zionist Orthodox Israelis and 93% of secular Jewish Israelis. Support is on the rise: in 2016 - 76%, in 2017 - 79% and in 2018 - 81%. 68% support legal surrogacy in Israel for gay couples.
The public wants to free themselves from the bonds of religious coercion, which do damage to civil rights and human dignity in Israel. The findings of our special survey for Pride Month show that a vast majority of the public supports the right of same-sex couples to be officially recognized in Israel and their right to have children via surrogacy in Israel. The time has come for the government to listen to the public, including its own voters, and say "enough" to the dictates of the religious parties!
The percentage of the public that opposes this is relatively low, and it has been decreasing - from 24% in 2016, to 21% in 2017, to 19% in the current survey.
A large majority also supports changing the law in Israel to allow gay couples to enter into legal surrogacy agreements in Israel, as is legally possible for all other couples. 68% support this, and 32% oppose it.
Regarding the extent of support for marriage and the registration of same-sex couples, the wording of the question was as follows:
"Do you think that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry or officially register in Israel? [Registration of a relationship is not marriage, but it confers rights and obligations similar to marriage]" Respondents were given the opportunity to select one of the following answers: "1. Yes, the state should officially recognize same-sex marriage; 2. Yes, but only couples' registrations, not marriage; 3. There is no need to permit this."
The survey data show that 58% of Jewish Israelis support same-sex marriage recognition, and 23% support couples' registration. The percentage of women who support same-sex marriage recognition is significantly higher than that of men: 66% and 50%, respectively [a smaller percentage supports only couples' registrations, rather than same-sex marriage: 19% and 26% respectively; and only 15% of women and 25% of men are opposed to any state recognition for same-sex couples].
While 63% of younger adults [up to age 29] support same-sex marriage recognition and 13% support couples registrations, among the 30-49 age group the ratio is reversed: 56% support same-sex marriage recognition, and 26% support only the couples' registrations.
Even among the public that defines itself as "Zionist Orthodox" there is a majority for recognition. 53% of Zionist Orthodox Israelis support state recognition of marriage or couples' registrations! Among the secular public, support rises to 93%. The survey shows a trend of increasing support among immigrants from the former Soviet Union for state recognition of same-sex couples: 83% support this.
On this subject, as in many subjects that Hiddush investigated in the 2017 Israel Religion & State Index, there is a significant difference between the positions of those who self-identify as "traditional - close to religion" [14% of the sample in this survey] and those who self-identify as "traditional - not so close to religion" [18% of the sample]. This indicates that the traditional Israeli public is divided on issues of religion and state, and the majority of traditional Jewish Israelis hold views similar to the secular public on issues of freedom of religion and equality. Only 35% of "traditional - close to religion" Israelis support same-sex marriage recognition [and 32% of thse support couples' registrations, bringing the total to 67%], compared with 63% of the "traditional - not so close to religion" public who support same-sex marriage recognition [and 29% support only couples' registrations, for a total of 92%].
Among the civil political parties, the findings clearly show support for state recognition among voters for the coalition parties, as well as among voters for the Zionist Orthodox Jewish Home party. This includes 84% of Likud voters in the 2015 elections [52% support the recognition of marriage and another 32% support couples' registrations], 89% of Kulanu voters, 89% of Yisrael Beitenu voters, and 74% of Jewish Home party voters! Interestingly, there even 23% of voters for the ultra-Orthodox parties support the recognition of couples' registrations. As expected, support among voters for the opposition parties is high: 94% of voters for the Zionist Union, 89% of voters for Yesh Atid, and 93% of Meretz voters.
Regarding the extent of support granting legal surrogacy rights to gay couples, the wording of the question was as follows:
"Couples of the same sex are not permitted by law in Israel to enter into contract with a surrogate mother for the purpose of having a child and are forced to travel abroad for this purpose, which costs hundreds of thousands of shekels. Do you think the law should or should not be changed to allow legal surrogacy for gay couples as is possible for other couples?"
In this regard too, support is higher among women [74%] than among men [62%]. Among Zionist Orthodox Israelis, there is a significant level of support [31%]. This support increases as the respondents' levels of religiosity decrease [50% among the traditional-religious public; 81% of the "traditional - not so religious;" 84% of the secular public]. A majority of voters for the non-Haredi coalition parties express support: 68% of Likud voters in the 2015 Knesset elections, 76% - Kulanu voters, 58% of Yisrael Beiteinu, 55% - the Jewish Home. Among voters for the opposition parties: 92% of the voters for the Zionist Union, 85% of voters for Yesh Atid, and 96% of Meretz voters.
These were the findings of a special telephone survey conducted by the Rafi Smith Institute for Hiddush on June 10-12, 2018, among 500 respondents, a representative sample of Israel's adult Jewish population. [Sampling error ± 4.5%]. The survey was made possible with support from the Israel Religious Expression Platform (IREP) on behalf of a group of Federations and Foundations.