Israel to Allow Second Parent Adoption for Gay/Lesbian Couples
22 Dec 2010
A breakthrough legal ruling in the Jerusalem Family Court on Thursday will pave the way for homosexuals to officially adopt their partner's or spouse's child, the Tel Aviv-based New Family organization told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.
"This is a big step for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community in Israel," commented lawyer Irit Rosenblum, executive director of New Family, an organization that champions the rights of Israelis to marry and build families outside the traditional system.
"However, there is still a long road to the desired recognition, since each issue pertaining to gay rights is decided by the courts, and not by the legislature."
Rosenblum, who submitted the request for adoption on behalf of the couple, told the Post that before this particular petition, no male homosexual had applied to legally adopt his partner's child.
She pointed out that unlike in the past, surrogacy has succeeded in creating a new situation for gay couples, in which a man can become a single parent.
In this precedent-setting case, the child in question was born two years go to a man via a surrogate mother in India.
About a year ago, the father asked to allow his partner to adopt the child.
The two men went through the standard adoption process - including a review from a social worker, who assessed the partner to be a fit parent and submitted a positive recommendation to the Jerusalem Family Court.
But because there was no precedent for this type of adoption, however, the court did not immediately approve it. At that point, Rosenblum got involved and presented their case to the court, which finally ruled that the partner could legally adopt the child.
Referring to Thursday's ruling, Rosenblum said that while it was a great step, "it is just not enough that such decisions depend only on liberal judges and not on the basis of solid legislation."
"[This precedent] emphasizes a much bigger issue in Israel: that such decisions are based on the attitudes of certain judges and not on the rule of law," said Rosenblum, highlighting a case six months ago of Jerusalem resident Dan Goldberg, a homosexual father of twins born to a surrogate mother in India.
After being denied entry to Israel with his children, Goldberg and his partner were forced to live in a Mumbai hotel for months after the babies were born because Jerusalem Family Court Judge Philip Marcus initially refused to authorize a standard paternity test to determine if he was the biological father of the children.
The matter was resolved only after the media reported the case and the family appealed to President Shimon Peres for help.
"This was a decision that was made by the same court regarding the rights of gay couples," said Rosenblum, adding "it is true that the minute one judge is breaks through and is brave enough to make a decision on such issues, then other judges will come forward, too, but it's just not enough. These basic rights must be set in law to ensure that everyone can enjoy them."
In 2007, the Supreme Court allowed two men to jointly adopt a child that was not related to either of them.