After years of frustrating struggle, a victory for the lesbian community: The Family Court in Petah Tikva ruled Sunday that the female partner of a woman who gives birth can be registered as a parent from the moment of birth.
Justice Yocheved Greenwald-Rand accepted Attorney Daniela Ya'akobi's argument that recognition from the moment of birth would serve the best interest of the child since the two mothers would have the legal authority to carry out legal actions on behalf of the child, including authorizing medical care, from the beginning of the child’s life.
"Same-sex parent families are a common and blessed vision, and there is no room for making their lives more difficult … I find no justification for the state’s opposition … The difference between families belonging to the LGBT community and heterosexual families is not a 'relevant difference' that justifies the application of various procedures … Pregnancy is the result of a joint decision by the two women, who are expected to raise the baby together as two mothers in all respects," stated Justice Greenwald-Rand.
One of the petitioners, Shelly Toporovsky, 32, who is currently pregnant, said that until the court’s decision she felt like a second-class citizen. "If you are a heterosexual couple in the hospital, the mother can simply declare who the father is, and they immediately register the baby with the Interior Minister (as his child—ed)," she said. "Now they will have to behave with us in the same way.
"Still, I fear something will go wrong, but I am really happy the judge ruled in our favor," Toporovsky told Tazpit Press Service (TPS).
Until now, lesbian couples had to obtain court-ordered parenting orders after the child's birth to establish the legal status of the non-biological partner as a "parent," a process that could be both time consuming and humiliating.
Same-sex partners were required to present evidence that they had been in a partnership relationship for at least 18 months prior to arranging the parenting order; present a parenting agreement that was implemented before the fertilization process; submit the request within three months of the date of birth and provide proof that the adopting partner had not been convicted of violent or sex-related crimes.
During the judicial process, only the biological mother had legal standing as the child’s parent.
"The implication of this verdict is that starting now a couple can initiate the adoption process before the birth and thus have the possibility to register the non-biological partner as a 'parent' at the Ministry of Interior office in the hospital," Ya'akobi told TPS. "In this way both mothers will become parents, effective from the first day, including for parental leave. That will prevent a 'legal vacuum.'"
Dana Friedman-Avital, who gave birth a year ago and had to go through the previous lengthy process, said she welcomed the ruling. "This decision makes me very happy. I remember it was very difficult for me to go through the whole adoption procedure after the birth," she told TPS. "My partner Rahel wanted to be with our son and me after the birth, but because formally she wasn’t his 'parent' yet, she couldn’t take the week off work, like new fathers are able to."
Article reprinted with permission from TPS .