Minister Apologizes for Miscommunication but Maintains Israel's Policy Opposing LGBT Adoption

Welfare Minister Haim Katz insists no intention to deny any group adoption rights, but will not amend court statement opposing equitable treatment to single-sex families

The Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem in 2016.
The Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem in 2016. Michal Fattal

Minister of Welfare and Social Services Haim Katz responded on Monday to the report, first reported in Haaretz Sunday, that Israel opposes the adoption of children by LGBT couples. Katz's office issued a statement reading: "Unfortunately, the wording submitted to the High Court was wrong and it would have been better if it was never said. The minister has no intention of restricting or withholding the right to adopt from any group including LGBT persons." 

Despite his announcement, the Ministry of Social Affairs did not correct his response to the High Court of Justice, and does not intend to change it. 

The LGBT Association announced that it will demonstrate this coming Thursday at 18:00 in front of the government offices in Tel Aviv. "Judging a person's ability or parenting skills based only on his sexual orientation is an insulting, disparaging and dark decision that requires a serious awakening," the Association said in response.

On Sunday, the state informed the High Court of Justice that it will not lift the discriminatory procedures for same-sex couples who want to adopt children in Israel. 

The Social Affairs and Justice Ministries told the High Court of its position ahead of the hearing that will be held later this week on a petition asking the court to end the present adoption policy, which discriminates against single-sex and common-law marriage families.

Same-sex couples can currently be approved for adoption, but they are treated unfavorably compared to heterosexual married couples. They can only adopt children for whom no adoptive heterosexual married couple can be found, often those coming from at-risk families. They usually must wait longer to adopt, and once they do, they are considered to be two individual adoptive parents in the eyes of the law.

The petition to the High Court was filed by the Association of Israeli Gay Fathers, together with the Israel Religious Action Center of the Reform movement, against the Social Affairs Ministry and the attorney general.

“Concerning same-sex couples," the state brief reads, "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."