Family equality in Israel







Family equalityIsrael is a land of many contradictions. It is the world’s only Jewish state and yet the only secular country in the Middle East, one of the only democracies in the region.  It is one of the only states in the Middle East where religion and modernity are not in violent cohesion. While most countries in the region shun or violently suppressed homosexuality, this is the only the country where gay rights are enshrined in law. And now the revolution has moved to family equality. After a long legal battle a groundbreaking achievement has been made in the area of family equality. Same sex parents will now have the same rights as heterosexual couples. Since the cancellation of the clause that forbade homosexual relations in the Israeli penal code in 1988, the courts and the attorney general have liberally interpreted the law to give the same rights to same sex couples as heterosexual couples.

There have been two major court decisions that have tilted the fortunes for same sex couples. In 2000, the High Court of Justice accepted the petition of Ruth and Nicole Berner-Kadish, and ordered the Interior Ministry to register both women as parents of the son who had been legally adopted from the United States. In 2005, the High Court of Justice granted another lesbian couple a mutual adoption order to make both women the legal parents of the other’s biological children. Those verdicts broke the hull, and since then, authorities have been flooded with requests by same-sex couples to adopt children.  The Adoption law which states that there shall be no adoption other than by a man and wife together underwent a radical change when the attorney general allowed the interpretation to apply for same sex couples. With this the state has finally accepted same sex parenting.

Family equality in Israel

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