A broad panel of High Court judges ordered the Interior Ministry on Sunday to implement a landmark ruling mandating that a woman in a same-sex relationship could adopt her partner's children.
The deliberations were held before a nine-judge panel chaired by Supreme Court President Dorit Beinish after the Interior Ministry requested the court rescind its previous ruling. The court's final decision on the matter will be rendered by late December.
In its original ruling, the court said the State was obligated to recognize Nicole and Ruthy Brener-Kadish as the legal mothers of child born to Ruthy. The child was legally adopted in the United States by Nicole.
The Interior Ministry is of the opinion that Nicole should not be recognized as the legal mother of the child despite the fact that she possesses an adoption certificate for the child which was issued by a federal court in San Francisco.
The justices have recommended that the Interior Ministry withdraw its request to have another hearing on the matter.
Beinish expressed her amazement that the ministry had requested another hearing on the matter after the High Court had already ruled that, according to Israeli law, same-sex partners may adopt children together.
State prosecutors assured the court that until a different ruling is given, adopted children of same-sex parents would continue to be registered by the Interior Ministry.
The Ministry has another two weeks to decide whether or not to withdraw its appeal.
Beinish berated State's conduct
Judge Beinish's expressed incredulity with the Interior Ministry's conduct in comments after the decision on Sunday: "This is inconceivable. You are making the law yourselves, there is a court ruling on the matter and you are not implementing it."
Dan Yakir, an attorney for the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, told Ynet after the discussion: "During the discussion, I emphasized the effects the delay of justice has had on the family. The situation is that there is a child who is registered as having two mothers and his two younger brothers only have one mother by law," he said.
"Even at the judicial level, the court has already confirmed that the adoption by members of a same-sex union is lawful and therefore there is no basis for the Interior Ministry's claim that this is a legal arrangement that is not recognized in Israel," Yakir explained.
It should be noted that the High Court recognized adoptions in single-sex marriages as legal last year. Tal and Avital Yaros-Hakak, a lesbian couple, were granted adoption papers in which the State recognized them as the mothers of their three children.
MK Orlev: Ruling goes against Jewish-law
National Religious Party chairman, MK Zevulun Orlev denounced the court's decision. "There is no choice but to propose a legislation amendment that will clearly determine that a family is built by a man and a
woman," he said.
"The court's ruling goes against the Jewish faith and undermines the foundation of the State of Israel as a Jewish nation," said Orlev.
Minister Isaac Herzog - a longtime supporter of gay rights - instructed the legal department of his ministry on Sunday to examine how best to implement the court's ruling.