Israeli Justice Ministry Forms to Say ‘Parents,’ Not ‘Mother and Father’

Change aims to recognize equality of LGBTQ families, days after lawmakers rejected a bill to apply change to all official forms

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People at LGBTQ Pride rally in Tel Aviv, June 2020.
People at LGBTQ Pride rally in Tel Aviv, June 2020.Credit: Meged Gozani

Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn announced Sunday that forms issued by his office would be adjusted to recognize LGBTQ families by renaming the fields for listing parents to read “Parent 1” and “Parent 2,” instead of “Father” and “Mother.”

According to the announcement, the first forms to be updated will be those requesting a probate order, requests to establish a non-marital partnership and to be listed in the couples registry, the form asking to be removed from the couples registry, the request to obtain information about the property of missing persons, and the form to register a nonprofit association.

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The Knesset rejected a bill last week by MK Yorai Lahav Hertzanu (Yesh Atid-Telem), who sought to establish that all the state’s official forms should not cite the gender of the parents. MKs from Kahal Lavan did not participate in the vote, and Nissenkorn, from Kahol Lavan, explained that “the bill had not been submitted for discussion by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, which is paralyzed due to the Likud’s position.”

Nevertheless, Nissenkorn said that he and the ministers from his party would work toward adjusting official forms in their ministries to account for LGBTQ parents. He added that the Justice Ministry would examine which other forms could be updated, on condition that the forms’ wording isn’t established by law.

“Adjusting official documentation is another step toward equality for the LGBTQ community and for every Israeli citizen,” Nissenkorn’s statement said. “Gay parents and single-parent families are families in every way, and there’s no reason they should be embarrassed or encounter bureaucratic difficulties with government agencies, which are obligated to provide equitable service to every person.”

In response, MK Shlomo Karhi (Likud) said the party wouldn’t allow this to go forward. “Honor Parent 1 and Parent 2 so that you live a long life,” he wrote. “With God’s help we will stop this.”

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