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Israel vows no change to adoption ban on gay couples

Seen trough a rainbow flag an Israeli border police officers watches from a roof top as people take part in the annual gay pride parade in central Jerusalem, Thursday, July 21, 2016.
AP Photo/Ariel Schalit
Two rights groups filed a petition to the High Court requesting a change in the law

Israel has come out against allowing gay couples to adopt Israeli-born children, submitting to the High Court that having same-sex parents would be “additional baggage” for kids who already feel different due to being adopted.

Currently, Israeli law permits homosexual and common-law couples to adopt from abroad and obtain Israeli citizenship for their children, however couples adopting children within Israel is prohibited. Gay couples can only adopt as individual parents, and are very rarely successful in being granted children.  

Two rights groups filed a petition to the High Court requesting a change in the law.

Haaretz newspaper reported that the government filed a response to the petition on Sunday, wherein it said “that it has been decided by the professional bodies in the Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services Ministry not to act at the present time to change the existing law."

The Ministry said the current arrangements that the adoptive parents be a man and a woman “takes into account the reality of Israeli society and the difficulty it may entail with regard to the child being adopted,” the Times of Israel reported.

The state also submitted that such a “controversial and sensitive issue” should be determined by the Knesset, not the courts, according to Haaretz.

The government will, however, allow couples who married under common law to adopt for the first time.

Several Knesset members who support a change in the law fired off an angry response after the government’s petition was revealed, saying that “in English they boast about [being a gay-friendly country], but in Hebrew they deny basic rights,” according to the Times of Israel.

The lawmakers from Labor, Yesh Atid, Meretz and Kulanu said the stance “highlights the government’s cynical use of the community” and is a “foolish and discriminatory decision that is accompanied by unprecedented homophobia.”

The High Court petition was filed by Association of Israeli Gay Fathers and the Israel Religious Action Center.

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