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Monday, June 27, 2005


When Jesus came closer and could see Jerusalem, he cried and said: It is too bad that today your people don't know what will bring them peace! Now it is hidden from them. - Luke 19:41-42.

An Israeli court ruled that Jerusalem's gay pride parade could proceed as planned this week and ordered the city's mayor to pay 30,000 shekels (A8,400) out of his own pocket for trying to stop it. In rare cooperation, the ultra Orthodox Jewish and Muslim communities in the holy city had tried to prevent the parade, scheduled for June 30, saying it would infringe on their religious sensitivities. Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski, an ultra-Orthodox Jew, said he would not allow the events to take place on public property.

The city said that it received many phone calls from local residents opposed to the public parade. About half of Jerusalem's majority Jewish residents are Orthodox or ultra-Orthodox, a much higher percentage than the national average. A third of the city's 700,000 people are Muslims. Both Orthodox Judaism and Islam regard homosexual practice as an abomination. Representatives of Jerusalem's Muslim community have threatened to stage a protest opposing the parade, saying that it harms Muslim heritage and traditions.

Jerusalem District Court Judge Musya Arad ruled that the city had no right to prevent such public events based solely on the sexual orientation of its organisers. "The harming of the sensitivities of one community or another is not enough to prevent another community from fulfilling its rights to equality, respect and freedom of expression," Arad wrote in the decision. The city must pay Jerusalem's homosexual community 60,000 shekels ($A16,880), and half must come from the mayor's own pocket, the judge ruled.

"The court decision today is a victory not just for the lesbian and gay community in Jerusalem, but a triumph for freedom of speech," said Hagai El-Ad, director of Open House for Pride and Tolerance, a gay rights group. "This will be a day of celebration of pluralism in Jerusalem."

The parade's route is to through Jerusalem's secular downtown, ending with a concert at a park overlooking the walled Old City. El-Ad said that about 4,000 people attended last year's parade, which was the Jerusalem community's third annual one.


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