Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein submitted a precedent-setting request to the family court on Sunday, recommending that the same-sex partner of a biological birth mother be regarded as a legal parent.
The recommendation pertains to same-sex parents of a child born through sperm donation. Currently, the non-biological partner was forced to adopt their partner's biological child in order to be listed as a legal parent.
In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that the partner of a biological parent can be registered as the child's parent in the civil registry, following a US court ruling that ordered to allow the names of a same-sex couple on birth certificates.
Weinstein decided to address the issue following the appeal filed by two women living together as parents for several years who wed outside Israel.
They are registered with the Interior Ministry as married, entered a cohabitation agreement together, and executed joint wills. A year ago, the non-biological parent in the relationship was forced to adopt her partner's child, but now, seeking to be spared the long and conplex legal process, they are asking that the court grant them parent status.
"This is a happy day for us and for the (LGBTQ) community, I believe this legal recommendation by the attorney general will finally lead the state to recognize me as the mother of the child which I have raised since he was born," said M. the non-biological mother of a boy born from an anonymous sperm donation.
If the court will accept the recommendation, as it is expected to do, then M. will be able to be registered as the boy's mother, without going through the adoption process. M. and her partner S. are all too familiar with the process, which they went through with their last child, with M. serving as the biological mother.
"They force you to wait for more than a year during which time the non-biological mother is in a state of limbo and anxiety as you are not considered the child's parent," she said, adding that this can be a problem if the couple break up, leaving one parent without access to a child that is for all extent and purposes their own.
Attorney Weinstein noted in his recommendation that while common practice in Israel allows only one of the same-sex parents to be registered as a biological father, in situations such as those regarding the two female parents, the court should grant legal parent status.
Weinstein's recommendation was subject to several conditions: the parents must maintain a relationship for at least 18 months, including a shared household; both members of couple must be over 21 and residents of Israel; the appeal for recognition must be filed within 90 days of the date of birth and the couple must have no records of violence or sexual crimes. In addition, the couple will be required to undergo an inspection by the Welfare and Social Services Ministry. The two women met all the conditions listed in the recommendation.