Court Grants Gay Couple Right to Adopt 30-year-old Foster Son

Ex-Knesset member Uzi Even and his life partner are first same-sex male couple in Israel to legally adopt.

Openly gay former Knesset member Uzi Even and his life partner can legally adopt their 30-year-old foster son, the Tel Aviv family court ruled on Tuesday, making them the first same-sex male couple in the country whose right of adoption has been legally acknowledged.

"We opened a door, an opening, a window for others," said Yossi Even-Kama, who was taken in by Even and his partner, Amit Kama, 14 years ago. "An opening of hope for the couples that will follow."

Dori Spivak, the deputy director of the law clinic programs at Tel Aviv University, who assisted Even and Kama in the case, called this "the first case ever where the right of adoption was acknowledged not only for two women, but also for two men."

Even and Kama began the formal adoption process because Tel Aviv University refused to grant Even-Kama a tuition discount reserved for families of faculty members. Even is a chemistry professor at the university.

"Our struggles are political but also very real," said Kama, an expert in communication theory. "I began my first struggle when I felt I was paying fines I didn't deserve, and in Yossi's case we're talking about tens of thousands of shekels."

"But the true meaning of this is that the state and its authorities recognize us as a family," he said. "This legitimizes our daily lives, our feelings, our emotions."

A social worker sent to assess the family also noted their evident affection.

"The social worker was impressed by the feelings of love, affection and endless caring of the couple, and by the great love and gratitude the adopted [son] feels for them," the verdict states.

Even-Kama moved in with Even and Kama at 16, after he came out of the closet and was driven out of his home because of his sexual orientation.

"I grew up with both of my biological parents in Jaffa," said Even-Kama. "When I was 13 my mother and I escaped my violent father and moved to Rehovot, where she met another man. When I turned 16, I came out of the closet, and he had trouble accepting that."

The same year, Even revealed in the Knesset that he was ejected from the Shin Bet security service when his employers discovered he was gay, after he had been working there for 15 years.

"I decided to speak to the only homosexual I knew," said Even-Kama. "One day I went down to a public phone, all shivering, and called 'that professor from TV.'"

When it became clear that his relationship with his family was not going to improve, Even and Kama offered the teenager the shelter of their home.