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Gay parents win Israeli court fight on birth certificates

Sofia Lotto Persio December 13, 2018
Israeli protesters attend a rally in Tel Aviv on July 22, 2018, to protest against a law on surrogacy parenthood that excludes gay parents.

Thousands of people protested against a law on surrogacy parenthood that excluded gay men. (Jack Guez/AFP/Getty)

Israel’s Supreme Court has ruled in favour of a gay couple who alleged discrimination when they tried to register both of their names on their child’s birth certificate.

Under current adoption practices, a heterosexual couple will include both of their names on the child’s birth certificate. But in the case of gay parents, the birth certificate requires only the name of one father or one mother.

The gay couple—whose names were not reported in Israeli media—alleged such practice was not only discriminatory, but also damaging to the child.

“Parents are parents, no matter their sex, sexual orientation or gender.”

— Attorneys Hagai Kalai and Daniella Yaakobi

The petition, filed by the gay parents with the support of the LGBT+ organisation the Aguda, claimed that the difference in the birth certificate immediately identifies the child as being adopted, as well as complicating procedures that need a birth certificate.

Top Israeli court agrees with gay parents’ petition

The top Israeli court agreed with the gay parents, and ruled on Wednesday that both of the fathers’ names be included on their child’s birth certificate.

“The principle of the child’s welfare supports registering his full family unit and doesn’t permit making do with registering one of the parents on the birth certificate while excluding the other and undermining his right to parenthood, given the contrast in the treatment of a child adopted by a heterosexual couple, who is entitled to have both his adoptive parents registered on the birth certificate—a contrast that affects both the child and the parents,” Justice Neal Hendel wrote in the verdict, quoted in Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

“It’s inconceivable that both members of the couple are recognised as parents, but the certificate doesn’t reflect this,” Justice Handel added.

Participants attend a demonstration in Tel Aviv on July 22, 2018, to protest a new surrogacy law that does not include gay parents.
Participants attend a demonstration in Tel Aviv on July 22, 2018, to protest a new surrogacy law that excluded same-sex couples or single men. (Jack Guez/AFP/Getty)

The gay parents’ attorneys Hagai Kalai and Daniella Yaakobi celebrated the court’s ruling in a statement and expressed their hope that it would convince the Interior Ministry to amend its policy to consider the needs of LGBT+ parents.

“We’re happy that the court reminded the Interior Ministry of something that should have been self-evident — that parents are parents, no matter their sex, sexual orientation or gender,” read the statement, quoted in The Times of israel.

Israel’s gay parents have been fighting for more rights

The ruling represents a positive step forward for LGBT+ parents in Israel, who have long been fighting to see their right to parenthood more widely recognised.

Earlier this year, a nationwide strike was organised after lawmakers failed to include same-sex couples and single men in a new law that expanded surrogacy rights to single women.

The LGBT+ community felt particularly betrayed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had originally expressed support for gay couple’s inclusion in the law, only to change his mind at the last minute.

The debacle convinced gay activist Imri Kalmann, the 32-year-old former co-chair of the Aguda, of the need for a political party dedicated to promoting the interests of the LGBT+ community in the country.

More: adoption, gay parents, Israel, Israel, Middle East, same sex parents, surrogacy

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