Government to oppose same-sex couple adoption reform at Supreme Court

The Supreme Court will debate Thursday a petition that seeks to end built-in discrimination in adoption legislation in Israel.

July 17, 2017 03:42
2 minute read.
The Supreme Court in Jerusalem hearing a case, August 19, 2015.

The Supreme Court in Jerusalem hearing a case.. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Israeli Supreme Court judges will debate Thursday a petition submitted by the Association of Israeli Gay Fathers, also known as "Gay Dads", and the Israel Religious Action Center.

The organizations are seeking to end built-in discrimination in adoption legislation in Israel and to enable same-sex couples to adopt children in an entirely equal way, where both parents are full guardians of the child.

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The government, or more precisely the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Social Affairs, represented by the state attorney's office, does not even attempt to refute the basis of the claims that same-sex couples are discriminated against by the law.

The government's position is not to to provide equality under the adoption law but it is willing to open the law to possible changes to allow unmarried common-law partners to adopt, as long as they are a male-female couple.

Submissions in response to the petition sound as if they are taken from far darker times for the LGBT community and, in the view of the petition writers, set the state back decades in the liberalization of Israeli views toward homosexual families.

The government, in its 57-page submission to the Supreme Court, writes: "In relation to same-sex couples, justice and social affairs ministers have decided, on the basis of expert opinion, not to act to change the existing law. (Which permits adoption by male-female partners or single individuals, even if part of a same-sex couple). A couple that is not a married man and woman, and same-sex couples, are permitted to submit a request [for adoption]... that will be considered only when it has not been possible for the child to be adopted by 'a male-female couple' which is the common, regular route by law."

"Sealed hearts and minds"

Udi Ledergor, chairman of Gay Dads, said in response: "The Israeli government has declared war on LGBT families, nothing less. Time and time again, we are confronted with the sealed hearts and minds of representatives of the state attorney's office and the legal advisor to the government, rejecting every request and every petition submitted by LGBT families to request equality in adoption."

"To Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Social Affairs Minister Haim Katz, who announced this week to the Supreme Court their demand to continue the discrimination against LGBT couples, awaits a particularly dark chapter in the history books of the LGBT community in Israel," continued Ledergor. "Gay Dads will continue to fight until we have removed the darkness and the discrimination."

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