Only Three Same-sex Couples Allowed to Adopt in Israel Since It Became Legal in 2008

Even though the law now allows gay families to adopt, they still have a lower priority.


Udi Ledergor, chairman of Israeli Gay Fathers Association, and his family

Only three same-sex families, two male couples and one female couple, have managed to adopt children in Israel since 2008, when such couples were legally allowed to adopt for the first time.

A report from the Social Affairs Ministry, which Haaretz has obtained, shows that in comparison, 1,700 heterosexual couples have adopted children over that same period. Some 550 requests for adoption or surrogacy from same-sex couples were filed from 2008 through 2016.

The child adoption law enacted over 30 years ago states that “only a man and wife together” are allowed to legally adopt today in Israel. In 2008, then Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, in a precedent-setting step, issued a legal opinion allowing same-sex couples to adopt children as “individual adoptive parents.” In other words, gay couples could adopt too, but they were given lower priority than heterosexual families. This was applied to couples in common-law marriages as well.

The data reveal what gays in Israel feel, the government tells us in practice don’t have children,” said Udi Ledergor, chairman of the Gay Dads Association. “Even though there is a possibility in the law to adopt, the situation is that it is impossible for LGBT [couples] to adopt. Hundreds of couples would be happy to adopt children but the word for a long time is that it is an impossible process.”

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