Children of LGBTQ parents: We were raised with so much love

The children of LGBT families spoke out against Welfare Minister Yaakov Mergi's statements against LGBT families being allowed to adopt.

 Israelis march in Jerusalem during the pride march on June 1, 2023 (photo credit: TZVI JOFFRE)
Israelis march in Jerusalem during the pride march on June 1, 2023
(photo credit: TZVI JOFFRE)

Welfare Minister Yaakov Mergi rejected a High Court petition against the Child Adoption Law, claiming that allowing children to be adopted by LGBTQ families was not in their best interest.

The petition was filed by civil and LGBTQ rights organizations, and it requested an interpretation of the adoption law to be expanded in order to include same-sex couples.

Two children of LGBTQ parents told Walla! that they were pained by the minister’s response to the petition and spoke about the constant war for equal rights that their families are forced to go through.

Shahar Hashakal, the daughter of two mothers, Einat and Roni, tearfully spoke about the moment she heard about Yaakov Mergi’s decision.

"His statement hurt me because my mothers had to fight for everything even more. Everything with us is more difficult because our rights are not taken for granted. What they did to raise us, many other parents don't do."

 People take part in the annual LGBTQ Pride Parade in Jerusalem, on June 6, 2019.  (credit: NOAM REVKIN FENTON/FLASH90)
People take part in the annual LGBTQ Pride Parade in Jerusalem, on June 6, 2019. (credit: NOAM REVKIN FENTON/FLASH90)

Messages for the minister

"I am proof that a girl in an LGBTQ family grew up well with a lot of warmth and love. You need to develop an understanding of different types of families," Shahar stated.

"I have never experienced a negative reaction to my family or any insults, but on the other hand, I grew up in the heart of Tel Aviv and there was always acceptance of our family. I know that in other places there is less of that for LGBTQ families. The loving and accepting reactions gave me a lot of strength. Thanks to my family, I grew up with values of equality.

“A child accepts reality as it is shown to them. If they see that it is normal, it will not be difficult, and if there are prejudices, it will perhaps be impossible. Minister Mergi defined what a 'correct' family unit is and claimed that a different family unit is 'other'. The feeling was delegitimizing of our families, which are more complex than father and mother - a family unit that cares for the child's welfare comes in many forms."

Ro'ee Mimran, the son of two gay fathers and one lesbian mother in a shared parenting family, claimed that he was not surprised by the minister’s stance against LGBTQ adoption

"I already know the dark views of the ultra-Orthodox parties," he said. "It pained me that in 2023, we're going backward. The minister imposes his opinion on others. No one wants to change the position of the ultra-Orthodox or their lifestyles. But don't force them on me. I will fight for the rights of our families."

"As a child who grew up in this type of family, we know how good we had it," added Mimran. "A child needs support and love, they need an adult who will love them - this is something that LGBTQ families can also give in a big way. The investment in us was much greater, our parents really wanted us and fought for it, much more than heterosexual families who may have children by mistake. With us, they worked hard and raised us with great love," he explained.

Ariel Efrat, one of the founders of an organization that supports LGBTQ families also spoke out against the minister’s decision to reject the petition.

"As children of LGBTQ families who grew up all their lives with two fathers, two mothers, and more, we were sorry to hear the position of the welfare minister, who ignores many studies in which it has been proven that members of the gay community are excellent parents for their children and prove their children are socially and emotionally developed even above average."

"While the minister talks about the welfare of boys and girls growing up in families like ours, we are here to say - your words are unfounded. We are proud of our families. We invite the minister to get to know us and our families, and to hear the voice of the children he is talking about."