(photo credit: courtesy)
A homosexual father of twins born to a surrogate mother in India two months ago has appealed to President Shimon Peres for help in enabling him and the babies to enter Israel after being initially turned down by the Jerusalem Family Court.
Jerusalem resident and restaurateur Dan Goldberg has been living in a Mumbai hotel with the babies since they were born, after Judge Philip Marcus had refused to authorize a paternity test to determine if Goldberg is the biological father of the children. This is standard procedure for any parents undergoing the surrogacy process but in this case Marcus said it was beyond his jurisdiction.
“I spoke to [Goldberg and his partner] last night and they are tired and scared,” the father’s lawyer, Irit Rosenblum, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday. Rosenblum is executive director of the New Family Organization, a non-profit group that champions the rights of Israelis to establish nontraditional marriages or unions.
“They are worried about the health of the babies who have not seen a doctor since they were born. They have not had vaccines and have no health insurance. It’s not right and it’s not human,” added Rosenblum, who on Wednesday sent a letter to Peres asking for him to take up the issue with Interior Minister Eli Yishai.
“They have been living in a small hotel room since they were born and they are citizens of nowhere.”
She said that even though the judge finally allowed Goldberg to take a DNA test last week, the results will not be known for at least three weeks and the family will only be allowed into Israel when the results are clear.
“Yesterday I contacted Peres to persuade Eli Yishai to open his heart and bring them here. I asked him not to make them wait a minute longer,” said Rosenblum, who said there were several other families stuck in a similar position.
A spokeswoman for the president told the Post that he had agreed to take up this matter on behalf of the father and would appeal to both the Family Court and to Yishai to speed up the process.
According to Rosenblum, the process of determining a biological link between Israeli parents and babies born by surrogates abroad is usually very straightforward.
“For the past three years we have dealt with many such cases,” she said. “It is the same procedure for single people, gays or straight couples.”
A judge usually authorizes an official DNA test according to the Genetic Information Law and once the babies have entered Israel, the parents can apply for their naturalization, said Rosenblum.
The fact that Goldberg was turned down for a DNA test came as a shock to Rosenblum, who claimed this is the first time that has ever happened.
“I have been dealing with this case in the Jerusalem Family Court since November 2009,” she said. “We don’t know why this judge decided that it was out of jurisdiction to authorize a paternity test. It was only supposed to be a technical procedure, but his order has now had repercussions for this poor family who are still stuck in Mumbai.”
Rosenblum said that it was now up to Yishai to get involved in helping bring the twins to Israel.
“He is the key here,” she said. “The interior minister has the power to
bring anyone in the world to Israel. If he did it for Darfurian
refugees, then he can do it for anyone. This is a humanitarian problem
now and someone needs to step in to solve it,” she said.
Yishai’s spokesman said the Interior Ministry could only allow the
babies to enter Israel when the DNA results were clear.
“If they want the process to be speeded up then they should ask the
hospital to work faster,” he said.