Israeli Supreme Court vs. Ministry of Interior

Author: WDG Staff (translated by Yanir Dekel for A Wider Bridge)
Source: WDG
Published: October 18, 2016

About 20 mothers, together with the Aguda, the Israeli National LGBT Task Force, filed a petition to the Israeli Supreme Court against the Ministry of Interior following the Ministry’s refusal to issue new birth certificates for their children. “Interior Ministry clerks have no authority to refuse to issue birth certificates with the names of the two mothers.”

Following many cases when Interior Ministry officials refused to issue new birth certificates for kids who were born to two mothers and to record both names of the mothers, and after the Interior Ministry ignored court decisions on the matter, and even tried to argue that the court erred in its decisions, 20 mothers appealed to the Supreme Court to order the Interior Ministry to issue the certificates. The legal department of the Aguda has joined as one of the petitioners in this struggle, and will monitor the case closely.

“According to the law, a birth certificate reflects the child’s family status,” reads the petition, submitted by attorneys Hagai Kalai, Daniella Yaakobi and Achinoam Segal-Orbach. “Regardless of the question whether the parental relationship is also genetic, whether the parental relationship is created using the genetic material of a third party (like sperm or egg donation), whether it’s done with the help of surrogacy, by virtue of the relationship between the parent and the other parent (for example, in a birth into a family unit with help of egg or sperm donation), or under an adoption order… despite the clear language of the law, despite the reality that each year the Interior Ministry issues many corrected birth certificates to heterosexual parents, despite clear court orders that instruct the issuance of corrected birth certificates after the parenting order – the respondents decided, for their own inexplicable reasons, not to issue birth certificates that include both names of the mothers.”

The petition, detailing the personal status of each of the petitioners, and the difficulties they have encountered in receiving birth certificates, directed the attention of the Court to the consequences which might result from the state’s refusal to issue birth certificates, a refusal which prevents mothers and children from performing actions in which they are required to present a birth certificate with the parents names.

Also noted in the petition is the initial decision made at the offices of the Attorney General, when two women asked for the first time to issue birth certificates for their children, and according to which, any request for a parenting order after a birth, had been rejected overwhelmingly. The decision means that every day the number of lesbian couples who are unable to register their children at the Interior Ministry at all is growing, and preventing the non-biological mother from making crucial decisions for the child whose partner gave birth to him, endangering the safety and welfare of the children. In practice, today, spouses of the same sex are unable to get a birth certificate for their children with both parents’ names on it.

“The language of the law should have no doubt. Dealing with adoption orders and parenting orders should have no doubt. There’s also no doubt that this is in the best interest of the child. There’s no reason for this violation of the right for equality and family life resulting from this practice.

“Immediately after we filed the petition, the Supreme Court informed us that the case will be heard by three judges, as soon as possible”, attorney Daniela Yaakobi tells WDG. “The attorneys who handle the petition, together with the petitioners and the Aguda, act in cooperation out of an understanding that a broad front would help the fight against the state’s discriminatory policies regarding LGBT parenthood.”