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Israel commits to legislation ending ban on same-sex adoption

Une femme et son enfant lors de la parade de la Gay Pride à Tel Aviv, le 3 juin 2016
Jack Guez - AFP
Current law which defines adoptive parent as 'a man and his wife' must be amended to reflect new policy

Israel has committed before the Supreme Court to passing legislation that would end a ban on adoption by same-sex couples by June 2018, Hebrew media outlets reported Sunday.

The long-simmering issue exploded onto the political arena in June when the government responded to a High Court petition by LGBT rights groups saying that the state would not change the discriminatory policy, adding that having gay parents would be “baggage” for the adopted children.

But following backlash and protest from local activist groups, the Israeli Welfare and Social Affairs Ministry reversed its opposition to same-sex adoption.

On Sunday, it told the court that based on expert advice it has decided to support "cancelling the threshold condition of the relationship [of the adopting parents] being specifically between 'man and woman'," a statement read.

With the state’s commitment to advance legislation equalizing adoption policies, the petition filed by the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism and the Association of Israeli Gay Fathers against the Justice Ministry and the Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services Ministry was dismissed.

Julien Bahloul/i24NEWS

High Court Justice Esther Hayut deemed the June 2018 deadline for passing such legislation to be reasonable, and noted that “if things don't progress at the proper pace, it's always possible to return and monitor [matters]. The courthouse doors are always open,” Haaretz reported.

The Gay Fathers' Association welcomed the decision, pledging in a statement to "return to the court to demand justice, if it is delayed".

Last month, the same court said gay people should have the same right to become parents through surrogacy, giving the state six months to change the law.

Israel is considered a trailblazer when it comes to gay rights, but homosexuality remains taboo among the religious in the Jewish state.

For years the government has recognized children adopted from abroad by gay couples, but options have dwindled recently as formerly popular surrogacy and adoption destinations like Thailand and Russia threw up obstacles or even imposed outright bans.

(Staff with agencies)

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