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Developing Story: Israel Opts to Keep Discriminating Against Same-sex Couples Looking to Adopt

State said adoption by gay and lesbian couples would add ‘additional baggage’ for child then took back the statement, saying it was ‘poorly worded.’ Current policy only allows them to adopt children for whom no heterosexual married couple can be found

A Wider Bridge Demands Israeli Government Reverse Discriminatory Same-Sex Adoption Policy

Regulations governing adoption in Israel make it almost impossible for same-sex couples to adopt children in Israel, an injustice to tens of thousands of loving would-be future Israeli families. Later this week, the Israeli High Court of Justice is set to hear a case filed by our friends at the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) and the Association of Israeli Gay Fathers that seeks to end this discrimination.

Yesterday, the Israeli Ministries of Justice and Social Affairs announced their support for the discriminatory status quo. In a shockingly biased statement, the brief filed by the State suggests that children are better off with heterosexual parents because having same-sex parents would add “additional baggage” for the adopted child. (Note: The State later retracted the wording of this statement, but not their intent to leave the discriminatory policy in place.)

A Wider Bridge joins with the Israeli LGBT community to register our support for the plaintiffs in this case, and to condemn the backwards and ill-informed position of the Israeli Ministries. These Ministers need only open their eyes and look around them to see countless examples in Israel (and throughout much of the world) of same-sex couples providing a loving family environment.

There are multiple ironies to these regulations. First, same sex couples are permitted to adopt, but only in cases where is no heterosexual couple willing to adopt the child. In practice, this has translated into same sex couples adopting children with special needs and challenges who cannot otherwise be placed. Thus the State is already entrusting the children who need the most care and love to same-sex parents, yet treats these same parents as second-class citizens in the adoption process. Second, this is a government that makes a point on the world stage of providing a stark contrast between flourishing LGBTQ life in Israel and the dire situation for LGBTQ people in neighboring Arab states. Yet its policy on adoption is a direct contradiction to the equality of Israeli LGBTQ people.

We call on all our supporters and allies to join with us in condemning this blatantly unfair discrimination and to demand that the Israeli government take the actions needed to reverse it. The position taken by the State is harmful to Israeli society, and, as if another example were needed this month, is yet another instance of the government acting in ways that run counter to the values of most Jewish communities around the world.

The Times of Israel, July 17, 2017: Minister of Welfare and Social Affairs Haim Katz says the state’s refusal to reconsider a law barring same-sex couples from adopting was poorly worded and does not reflect his position on the matter.

“The wording presented to the High Court was a failed formulation and should not have been said,” a statement from Katz’s office says. “The minister has no intention of preventing or denying a certain group from adopting. Continue reading in The Times of Israel

Haaretz, July 16, 2017: The state has informed the High Court of Justice that it will not lift the discriminatory procedures for same-sex couples who want to adopt children in Israel.

The Social Affairs and Justice Ministries told the High Court of its position ahead of the hearing that will be held later this week on a petition asking the court to end the present adoption policy, which discriminates against single-sex and common-law marriage families.

Same-sex couples can currently be approved for adoption, but they are treated unfavorably compared to heterosexual married couples. They can only adopt children for whom no adoptive heterosexual married couple can be found, often those coming from at-risk families. They usually must wait longer to adopt, and once they do, they are considered to be two individual adoptive parents in the eyes of the law. Continue reading in Haaretz