Thousands protest for equality in Tel Aviv over gay adoption
WATCH: Thousands of people participate in LGBT demonstration against state's ban on adoption by same-sex couples' Will go out into the streets and disrupt everyday life until there is full equality for LGBT families in Israel,' says LGBT Association CEO.
Thousands of people took part in a demonstration supporting the LGBT community near the government compound in Tel Aviv, protesting the state's decision to continue with its current stance against the adoption of children by same-sex couples, citing that such couples will be considered less desirable candidates for adoption than heterosexual couples.
LGBT Association Chairperson Chen Arieli spoke prior to the demonstration, saying that "the politicians are terrified that thousands of people crying out against discrimination have come to the demonstration, and the solution suggested by (Welfare Minister Haim Katz, whose office approved the ban on same-sex adoption—ed) is far from truly being a solution. Who's going to conduct the parental capability tests, the same people who view us as additional waste? Discrimination as policy must stop, since any other solution perpetuates the current reality.
"Minister Katz has to meet with the heads of the community and work with the ministry's officials in a zero-tolerance approach to discrimination in adoption," continued Arieli. "Will go out into the streets and disrupt everyday life until there is full equality for LGBT families in Israel."
The protest will be hosted by journalist Nadav Bornstein and is to also include the singer Harel Skaat, who raised a great deal of controversy at the beginning of the week, for calling on LGBT youth not to enlist in the IDF or pay taxes until members of the community enjoy full equality vis-à-vis adoption. Iconic pop diva Dana International will take the stage accompanied by the children of LGBT families, and together they will sing the song made famous by Rita—Children That's a Blessing (Yeladim Ze Simcha).
'The state's position is based on prejudice, darkness and conservatism
The issue sparked widespread public controversy and protest by public figures and social activists.
Following the publication of the state's position, the Israel Psychological Association issued its own document, pointing out that the state and the Ministry of Welfare's position contradicts the findings of the American Psychological Association, a plethora of research and a great deal of accumulated professional field experience, all stressing that the children of LGBT parents do not develop greater psychological hardship.
Safra Dweik, Chairman of the Social Workers' Union, echoed the position of the Israel Psychological Association: "The position of social workers is that there is no distinction between parents of both sexes. What is important is to examine the family unit, the stability and strength of the relationship, and how much it can be loving and supportive. That's all we need to know. "
"The state's position is based on prejudice, darkness and conservatism," said Dweik. Hinting that the Justice Ministry has succumbed to coalition pressure, she added, "The only hypothesis is that this is politics because there are many populations in the Knesset that must serve."
The state informed the High Court of Justice on Sunday that the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Welfare have formulated a professional position that they will allow common-law couples to adopt children for the first time, provided they maintain a stable household for at least three years.
However, while heterosexual couples joined in civil union will be allowed to adopt, there will be no change in the ban on same-sex couples joined in civil union who wish to adopt.
"The position of professionals in the Service for the Child now supports the preservation of the existing situation, with regard to favoring a couple that is a man and a woman, taking into account the reality in Israeli society and the difficulty it may entail in relation to the child being adopted," the state said in a statement.
Currently, Israeli law allows only married couples who are men and women to adopt children. As Israel does not have same-sex marriage, Sunday's decision blocks same-sex couples from all options that are recognized when seeking to adopt.
The state's position caused a storm among supports of LGBT rights, prompting Israeli LGBT celebrities to denounce the decision as "humiliating and insulting."
The Welfare Ministry, headed by Minister Haim Katz, responded to the criticism by stating, "Unfortunately, the wording that was presented to the High Court of Justice was a failed attempt that should not have been said: The minister has no intention of preventing or denying the ability to adopt from one group or another." Katz, however, did not change the decision.
On Tuesday, Katz announced that he would ask the High Court of Justice to "review the issue of adoption by same-sex couples, so that the professionals will re-examine the matter and take into account all the considerations at hand."
Following this, a hearing on the matter was postponed until September. The state announced that it will reexamine the issue and submit an updated position by September 10.