Israeli gov't supports nixing adoption discrimination against LGBTQ+ parents

The government committed to amending the discriminative adoption law against LGBTQ+ people in 2017.

People wave signs saying "Israel says yes to equality at an LGBTQ+ demonstration. (photo credit: THE AGUDAH – THE ASSOCIATION FOR LGBTQ EQUALITY IN ISRAEL)
People wave signs saying "Israel says yes to equality at an LGBTQ+ demonstration.
(photo credit: THE AGUDAH – THE ASSOCIATION FOR LGBTQ EQUALITY IN ISRAEL)

Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar and Welfare and Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services Minister Meir Cohen support getting rid of the discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in the adoption system, the state told the High Court of Justice on Wednesday.

The issue of discrimination against LGBTQ+ couples in adoption has been debated in the High Court for five years at various opportunities, but the government that committed to fixing the situation has not done so.

A petition submitted by Israel's LGBT Task Force, the Israel Religious Action Center, Open House Jerusalem and two male couples who were pushed to the end of the "waiting list" to adopt children, demanded that the government repair the discrimination against LGBTQ+ couples who cannot adopt children as the situation stands today.

In 2017, the state told the High Court that homosexual families are irregular, which can "put extra weight on the children" that are adopted. This led to a massive protest, after which the state admitted to the court that the adoption law unreasonably discriminates against LGBTQ+ couples and it is committed to amending it. 

It's been five years since then, and the law had not yet been amended. 

"The absurd discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community in adopting children needs to be canceled immediately," said chairwoman of Israel's LGBT Task Force Hila Pe'er. "After years of avoidance and rejections from the government, the High Court must get involved and work toward canceling the discrimination that sees LGBTQ+ parents as second-rate citizens."

  Protesters take part in a LGBT community members protest against discriminatory surrogate bill in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, Israel, July 22, 2018.  (credit: CORINNA KERN/REUTERS) Protesters take part in a LGBT community members protest against discriminatory surrogate bill in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, Israel, July 22, 2018. (credit: CORINNA KERN/REUTERS)

"The government committed to amending the law in 2017 to allow adoption for any couple regardless of their sexual orientation; however, the discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community in adoption continues," said the Director of the Israel Religious Action Center and the lawyer representing the petitioners, Orly Erez-Lahovski.

"A situation in which LGBTQ+ couples are denied the right to be parents and have a family is unbearable in a democratic country," she said. "Considering the state's announcement, we expect the High Court to get involved and stop the discrimination without any more delays."