Promoting Equality in Access to Adoption

The Israeli Reform Center for Religion and State and the Gay Fathers Organization appealed Sunday to the Supreme Court against the Ministry of Welfare, Social Services and the Attorney General, asking to change the discrimination against Known in Public couples and same-sex couples in the adoption process.

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The petitioners argue that the way in which social services interpret the Adoption Law, mortally affects the rights of equality and honor, a basic state law: human dignity and liberty. This interpretation does not at all serve the purpose of the Adoption of Children Act, which places an emphasis on the welfare of the child.

“Discrimination against same-sex couples in line for adoption is only one in a series of discriminations that the Gay Fathers Organization aims to eradicate,” said Udi Ledergor, Chairman of Gay Fathers Organization. “There are many same sex couples who would like to choose adoption over other options for bringing children into their families, and Israeli law makes it difficult for us here too. In recent years, dozens of studies have been published proving that children growing up with same-sex parents don’t suffer any difficulty in relation to their friends, with the exception of the stigma against their parents. We are determined to win and fix this discrimination and believe that the High Court will rule in the spirit of our times and put an end to this pointless discrimination.”

“The purpose of the adoption law is to maintain the welfare of the child, a welfare that is maintained as long as the couple live together and seek to adopt together,” adds attorney Riki Shapira Rosenberg from the Legal Department of the Reform Center for Religion and State, who represents the petitioners. “Therefore, with regard to adoption, there is no difference between a couple living together without marriage and a couple living together and married, and no difference between a couple who are a man and a woman and same sex couples.”

Currently, the Ministry of Social Affairs does not recognize Known in Public couples and same-sex couples, with regard to the adoption law, and allows them to adopt as individuals only. The ministry also states that couples who are not registered as married are not considered “couples” for the purpose of adoption law, even though these couples are recognized with regards to other rights. Also, the Ministry of Social Affairs does not recognize same-sex couples as couples for the purpose of adoption law, although some of these couples were married abroad and are registered as married in Israel.