Philly mayor to conduct same-sex marriage ceremony for Israeli diplomat


(JTA) — An Israeli diplomat will be married in a same-sex marriage ceremony conducted by the mayor of Philadelphia.

Elad Strohmyer, the deputy consul general of Israel in the city, and partner Oren Ben-Joseph will be married  at the Philadelphia City Hall this week, The Jewish Exponent reported. Mayor Michael Nutter and Michael Bills, a Conservative rabbi, will officiate.

Gay marriage has been legal in Pennsylvania since May. Israel’s Foreign Ministry recognizes same-sex couples and lists them as official spouses, though same-sex weddings may not be performed in Israel.

Strohmyer met Ben-Joseph during a gay pride event in Tel Aviv in June. Ben-Joseph joined him shortly after in Philadelphia, and they were engaged in October.

Strohmayer told the Exponent that Nutter’s “excellent work to promote Israeli and LGBT interests in Philadelphia” was one of the reasons he wanted the mayor to preside over the wedding, which he called a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

“It’s a big honor for me to get married in the city that has been my home for the past three years and in which I represent Israel,” Strohmyer told Ynet. “The fact that the local media and the leadership of the community is expressing great interest and will come to the wedding is really moving and also enables us to expose another facet of Israel that is not usually displayed in world media. 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.”

Some 150 guests, including friends and family from Israel, will attend the wedding.

It is the first time that Nutter will conduct a wedding ceremony for a diplomat and the fourth time he has officiated at a same-sex wedding ceremony.


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