Israel to ease citizenship process for same-sex couples

Previously, the process for same-sex couples was several years longer than that for non-same-sex couples, often ending in permanent residency and not citizenship.

By MOR SHIMONI/MAARIV
December 8, 2016 16:22
1 minute read.
A SIDEWALK painted with colors for the gay pride parade in Tel Aviv. The author wonders why anti-Isr

A SIDEWALK painted with colors for the gay pride parade in Tel Aviv. The author wonders why anti-Israel Jewish academics don’t support Israel’s gay rights and liberal values?. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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The naturalization process for foreign same-sex partners in Israel will be the same as that of their heterosexual counterparts, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit reported Thursday to the High Court of Justice.

According to Mandelblit's guidelines, couples of the same sex who present foreign marriage documents will be able to undergo the same procedure to receive citizenship for the foreign partner as do heterosexual couples.

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The move by Mandelblit's was made in response to a petition presented by the The Israeli Gay Fathers Association, which claimed gay couples have been discriminated against for years in the immigration process. The group complained that same sex couples were forced to go through a seven-year waiting period before the state would give its recognition.

For heterosexual couples, the transition period lasts four years, resulting in the foreign partner receiving full citizenship.

The organization's petition also claimed that the state forced LGBT partners of foreign nationality to give up non-Israeli citizenship, as opposed to heterosexual partners who were permitted to retain their foreign citizenship.

Mandelblit issued his decision to the court following lobbying efforts by Jonathan Berman from the State Attorney's Office.

"The mere presentation of foreign marriage documents and the couple's intention to receive legal validity, is a significant indicator in relations to the seriousness of the relationship and to justify shortening the process," Mandelblit said.

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The Israeli Gay Fathers Association later said Mandelblit's announcement was "a huge victory against discrimination for same sex couples."

"The decision will ease the process for many couples with mixed citizenship that have suffered until today, which many times does not end with Israeli citizenship," the group added.

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