The state’s shameful response to the High Court of Justice on adoption by same-sex couples comes as no surprise. Granted, the state didn’t force gay people to walk around with a pink badge, didn’t say that gay people stink and didn’t advance legislation denying gay people’s parental rights.
But in its deposition to the court, backed by no professional argumentation or research, the state clarified its objection to same-sex families is simply based on… an opinion. A fundamental, unexplained, “ideological” opinion. It’s called homophobia.
It’s true that homosexuals and lesbians are not the only sector the state couldn’t care less about. But while the state couldn’t care less about Holocaust survivors, for example, or disabled or elderly people, for budgetary reasons—in this case, it has been clarified the deciding factor is taste. Gay people are not the state’s cup of tea.
It’s called darkness and ignorance.
Absurdly, this is actually a good deposition. Because it’s so groundless, there’s a chance the state will be intimidated by itself and by the public buzz. Let’s just hope the buzz intensifies and furthers a change, maybe even a legislative one.
With all due respect to the adoption issue, however, we must not let this issue divert the public debate from the essence. And the essence is not adoption, but the animosity towards gay people and a series of discriminatory moves against them.
In Israel of 2017:
- Gay people have no way of getting married in Israel. All they can do is issue a common-law marriage declaration at the National Insurance Institute, or get a Domestic Union Card from the New Family organization. While it’s a nice card, it’s just a private declaration that the couple lives together and runs a joint household. It’s definitely not written proof from the state;
- As for same sex couples that were married abroad, unlike heterosexual marriages, the court has ruled that “there is no recognition here of a new kind of a family unit.” Such recognition can only be provided by the legislator, which is impossible of course in Israel of 2017, with the current coalition makeup;
- Gay people are not allowed to undergo a surrogacy process in Israel;
- Lesbians who have trouble carrying a pregnancy will not be able to seek solutions that are legal for straight women, like using a surrogate mother. Needless to say, a lesbian is not allowed to carry a pregnancy conceived from her partner’s eggs;
- While HMOs partially cover women’s fertility treatments (regardless of whether they are straight or lesbian, single or married), men receive no funding. And since egg donations for men are illegal, a man cannot produce embryos in Israel and send them abroad, to countries like the United States or Canada, where foreign nationals are permitted to undergo surrogacy processes;
- Children of women who can carry a pregnancy full term themselves, even if the child was conceived from an egg donation from a foreigner, will be recognized as Jews for all intents and purposes, as they were born from a “Jewish uterus.” But children of homosexual men, have no option of undergoing a surrogacy process in Israel with a Jewish surrogate, won’t be considered Jewish and will have to convert. The gay parents will then discover it’s impossible to find an Israeli Orthodox rabbi eager to perform such a conversion. And if they opt for the Reform conversion option, they will soon find out it’s unrecognized by the Chief Rabbinate.
- Without a conversion—or, to be more accurate, an Orthodox conversion which is nearly impossible—the children will be forbidden to marry a Jewish spouse according to Jewish law;
- Even if the children have been properly converted, a daughter born in a surrogacy process abroad will be considered a “proselyte” and won’t be permitted to marry a Cohen;
- Obe alternative some people will wait for is converting their children when they enlist in the IDF, in a relatively short process. Children born to gay parents in a surrogacy process will, after all, serve in the army one day as their fathers did. No one interferes with their duties (like paying taxes), only with their rights;
- According to the Magen David Adom website, a homosexual can donate blood only if 12 months have passed since he last engaged in sexual intercourse, which means a gay person can’t receive a blood donation from his partner. The same applies to bone marrow donations (although medically, it’s not “blood”).
As singer and songwriter Shalom Hanoch wrote, “It’s always the darkest before the dawn.”
Going back to the adoption issue, it can be indirectly inferred from the state’s response to the High Court that there is so much animosity towards same-sex couples, the state would rather leave abandoned, neglected children in their horrible state than offer them the option of a well-established, warm and loving home—but a home of two homosexuals or two lesbians, Heaven forbid.
Attorney Dror Cohen is Ynet’s legal advisor. Attorney Victoria Gelfand specializes in surrogacy, adoption and LGBT families.