Israeli lawmaker ready to rebel over same-sex adoption flap

“It’s 2017. Move forward,” argues Likud MK Amir Ohana.

July 18, 2017 17:14
2 minute read.
An activist waves an LGBT flag near Israel's Knesset building

An activist waves an LGBT flag near Israel's Knesset building. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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MK Amir Ohana of the Likud says he will no longer vote with the coalition, unless the government changes its policy to prefer heterosexual couples as adoptive parents.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Ohana wrote that his ultimatum stands “unless the decision is not changed significantly – not just semantically – and in the area of adoption every case will be examined individually and equally without discriminating against the category of LGBT parents as opposed to those who are not.”

“It’s 2017. Move forward,” he quipped.

Ohana’s rebellion comes two days after the state responded to a petition to the High Court of Justice by the Reform Movement’s Israel Religious Action Center by saying it opposes allowing LGBT couples to adopt, because the matter is controversial in Israel and it would put the child at a societal disadvantage. The Labor and Social Services Ministry then sent out several contradictory messages, seemingly walking back the earlier position. Since 2008, the policy is to allow gay couples to adopt, but only after straight couples have been considered.

The MK posted a picture of himself, his husband and his two children, calling his family “a dream come true,” and wrote that “no welfare bureaucrat can tell me we won’t do anything to see a smile on their faces, to give them the best we can, materially and emotionally – food, a home, clothing, education, medicine. No one can argue that these children, who are the air we breathe and we theirs, do not get what children need – especially tons of warmth and love.”

He said gay teens commit suicide at a rate three times higher than heterosexual youth, and it is important that these young people know they can have a good life.

Ohana the Likud’s first openly gay lawmaker, said that up until now he voted with the coalition on all matters except those related to LGBT rights, in which he abstained.

“I lived with a compromise between the desire to promote equal freedoms for LGBT people and the need to maintain a coalition based also on votes of those who are not familiar with the LGBT issue, it is strange to them, and to make an understatement, does not fit with their worldview,” he said.

“Social Services Minister Haim Katz has an historic opportunity...

to fix a longstanding injustice..., and as someone who has listened when it comes to LGBT issues in the past, I plan to help him make sure not to miss this opportunity.”

Meanwhile, MK Yael German of Yesh Atid called the government hypocritical for touting gay rights in Israel when making the country’s case overseas, while denying couples the ability to adopt.

German uncovered a section of the Foreign Ministry’s website titled “Gay Israel,” in which it says gay couples have “equal adoption rights.”

“What a lie, what hypocrisy,” she told Army Radio.

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