Two Israelis, one of them a deputy consul, are set to tie the knot later this week in a same-sex marriage officiated by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.
Elad Strohmyer, Deputy Consul General of Israel in Philadelphia, said that in addition to being a special occasion personally, his wedding to Oren Ben-Yosef would be another tool in his hasbara belt.
“Through our wedding that has been awarded with a high media profile we are adding another important element of representing Israel other than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Strohmyer said.
Ben-Yosef added: “It is important for us to represent the pluralistic side of Israel, a liberal country that has progressive legislation on the subject of the rights of the [gay] pride community.”
Strohmyer and Ben-Yosef met at a gay pride parade in Tel Aviv last summer. They got engaged in October during a technology conference put on by the Consul General of Israel. Mayor Nutter was made aware of the proposal, and immediately offered to marry the two Israelis.
Gay marriage was legalized in Pennsylvania in May 2014. But since then, Mayor Nutter has only been called upon three times to officiate same-sex weddings.
In Israel, same-sex couples cannot officially marry, though those married abroad are recognized and receive the same benefits as heterosexual married couples.
PHOTO: Elad Strohmyer (right) with his fiancé Oren Ben-Yosef (left) and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (center).