Religious and liberal MKs spar over surrogacy for homosexuals and lesbians

MK Meir Cohen (Yesh Atid) said: “I understand that caution is being taken, but in the current era, the attitude toward the LGBT community has changed.”

January 22, 2018 21:55
2 minute read.
Religious and liberal MKs spar over surrogacy for homosexuals and lesbians

Man holds a Star of David rainbow flag at the 2017 Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)


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Whether to allow members of the LGBT community to produce children via surrogacy was the cause of a heated debate on Monday at the Knesset Labor, Social Affairs and Health Committee.

At present, the surrogacy law prepared by the Health Ministry allows only infertile heterosexual married couples to sign surrogacy agreements with an unmarried, unrelated Israeli woman – who already has her own a child. As a result, homosexuals and lesbians go abroad in a very expensive procedure to have families of their own.

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During the discussion, representatives of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual organizations demanded that same-sex couples be allowed to perform surrogacy.

“Israel is one of the only countries in the world that allows surrogacy,” said Mira Huebner, the ministry’s longtime legal adviser. “There are ethical and complicated aspects to this. The bill does not examine other issues other than a medical problem.”

MK Meir Cohen (Yesh Atid) said: “I understand that caution is being taken, but in the current era, the attitude toward the LGBT community has changed.”

Committee chairman MK Eli Alalouf (Kulanu) commented: “This issue is mainly political. We must respect all types of families, yet we must be pragmatic.”

MK Motti Yogev (Bayit Yehudi) said: “The State of Israel is a Jewish and democratic state. It does not have to be the leader of the deviations in the world.”

“Surrogacy is not a medical procedure that solves the problem of infertility, but rather a social arrangement and solution that enables parenting. All the wrangling here is a subtle mask for homophobia,” said Udi Ladergor, head of the Proud Fathers organization. “It’s sad that you determine who is and who is not entitled to be a parent.”

Yogev finally apologized “if anyone was hurt. Torah and Judaism are the basis of values for the people of Israel. Neither darkness nor light belong to one side. A child is not a toy doll. Every child deserves to have both a mother and a father.”

MK Michal Biran of the Zionist Union responded: “In the Bible it was possible to punish people by throwing stones; that does not mean that what existed 2,000 years ago must be applied today. The world is progressing. You are a homophobe; you discriminate against a large part of the Israeli people – and if it were up to you, I would not be sitting in the Knesset because I am a woman.”

Alalouf announced that at the request of the Justice Ministry, the debate on the bill would be postponed by several weeks to continue examining the legal issues. “We also have time for the [United Torah Judaism] deputy health minister [Ya’acov Litzman], who has returned to his post, to examine the issue. Within a month, we will decide on the bill,” he continued.

Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah, former head of the LGBT lobby, commented: “MK Yogev’s dark words about the LGBT community are outrageous. The government must promote, by virtue of the law of continuity, the bill that allows surrogacy for LGBT, prepared by Yael German when she was health minister and passed on first reading by the initiative of Yesh Atid in the previous Knesset. It is not enough to condemn those who speak hallucinatory slurs; one must also demand an act from someone who can do justice but does not do it.”

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