Supreme Court, in dramatic decision, rules same-sex couples eligible to adopt

'A historic, groundbreaking victory which gives a shred of light and hope in these difficult times,' says Israel's LGBT Task Force

Israel's Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision that same-sex couples are eligible to adopt children under the 1981 law on adoption.
The decision was published on Thursday, in the shadow of the leak of a draft rejecting the reasonableness law passed over the summer as part of the government's planned judicial overhaul.
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The adoption law sets as a condition for eligibility that only "a man and his wife together" can adopt, which has been interpreted for more than three decades as a heterosexual couple. There have been some rare adoptions by same-sex couples under exceptions to the law and under other sections of the adoption law.
In general, applications for adoption by same-sex couples has been considered only when the child cannot be given up for adoption to heterosexual couples. The petitioners argued that the adoption law should be interpreted so that spouses of the same sex would also be eligible to adopt within the scope of the existing law.
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דיון בבית המשפט העליון בנושא אימוץ להט"ב
דיון בבית המשפט העליון בנושא אימוץ להט"ב
The Supreme Court announces its decision on same-sex adoptions
(Photo: GPO)
A previous petition on the same topic was withdrawn in 2017, in light of the state's commitment to act to amend the adoption law. However, many years have passed and the legislative process has not been completed and the state has said that at this time there is no legislative horizon to settle the issue. Following this, the court decided to rule on the issue and ruled unanimously that a same-sex couple are qualified to adopt children.
Before the ruling, the attorney general announced her the legal advisor to the government expressed her position that the interpretation according to which same-sex couples are eligible to adopt according to section 3 is a possible interpretation.
Acting President of the Supreme Court, Justice Uzi Vogelman applied the judicial doctrine of "interpretation" to reevaluate the 1981 law. He said the section on eligibility is drawing a distinction between a set of parents versus a single-parent household, and that it is referring to an adoptive home with a stable marital situation. He added that the question of the competence of same-sex couples to adopt was never at issue in the existing law.
"This is a historic, groundbreaking victory which gives a shred of light and hope in these difficult times, Ran Shalhavi, director-general of the Aguda – Israel's LGBT Task Force, said after the verdict was announced.
"For years, we have been fighting to be seen as equals when it comes to raising families in Israel, as governments over the years have discriminated and incited against us because of who we are.'
"The Supreme Court again has proven its worth in protecting our rights," Shalhavi added. "This day is the answer to homophobia, hatred, darkness and welfare ministers who for years denied us the opportunity to be parents, leaving us second-class citizens."
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