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Lesbian Couple in Israel Wins Court Case in Appeal for Parental Recognition

Three days after Tel Aviv’s Gay Pride parade, a judge in Haifa has ruled that both partners in a lesbian couple will be recognized as parents to a child born to one of the women.

Some of the couples that won the case in the Haifa court. Photo Credit: Smadar Benayoun

A new ruling handed down by Haifa’s Family Court today (Monday) has determined that both partners in a lesbian couple will be able to legally register as the parents of the future child if one of the women is pregnant.

Justice Hila Gurevitz-Sheinfeld wrote in her groundbreaking ruling that “upon leaving the delivery room, the status of both [women] will be recorded as ‘parents of the newborn.” 

“Providing an equal basis for both parents of the minor will prevent future emotional or phycological biases,” she wrote, “which will undoubtedly be in the minor’s best interest.”

The couple who petitioned the court has been living together for about 10 years and the two women were married in a civil ceremony in 2015. When they decided that they wanted to have a baby, they both wanted to be registered as the legal parents of their child. 

The judge ultimately ruled in their favor, and said that the distinction of parenthood is not determined solely by the existence of a fetus but by the rights of its future parents. “The verdict reflects reality, and is in the best interest of the newborn. The baby will be born into an existing family unit, one that was formed knowingly by the joint decision of two parents.”

The timing of the ruling- a victory for the LGBTQ community in Israel- seems appropriate, over 250,000 marchers participated in Israel’s 20th annual main Gay Pride Parade in Tel Aviv this past Friday

Though Tel Aviv is commonly known as one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world, same-sex relationships are still not legally recognized by the state and a gay couple is not allowed to adopt a baby in Israel, nor can they apply for surrogacy. Additionally, a 2017 poll said that the number of violent incidents aimed at members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community in Israel has risen by 17%.