To Deny Lesbian Couples Equal Rights, Israel Toughens Regulations for Fathers

The state is now asking all fathers to state that they are the 'biological father' of the child they are registering, not just the 'father,' as in the past

Protesters take part in a LGBT community members protest against discriminatory surrogate bill in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, Israel, July 22, 2018.
REUTERS/Corinna Kern

Israel has revised its documents on which heterosexual couples register their parenthood, in what LGBT activists say is a move to block same-sex couples from being able to register joint parenthood of their children without a legal procedure.

The state is now asking all fathers to state that they are the “biological father” of the child they are registering, not just the “father,” as in the past.

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The mother is now also asked to affirm that the man to be listed on the child’s birth certificate is the biological father of the child. As a result, couples who for whatever reason had to use a sperm donation to have the baby cannot register the man as the biological father of the child unless they lie, which would be a criminal offense. 

In fact, this conflicts with the Health Ministry directive under which heterosexual couples, before undergoing insemination with donated sperm, must sign a declaration stating that the man will accept responsibility for the child as if he were its natural father. This never posed a problem, since the form for registering parenthood merely said “father.”

Orly and Ravit Weiselberg-Zur, who petition the High Court against the existing regulations, in a protest in Tel Aviv.
Tomer Appelbaum

Now that the form says “biological father,” such a couple will have to go to court to seek a parenting order for the man, as same-sex couples must do for the non-biological parent of their children if they want both parents listed on the child’s birth certificate. This involves a long, expensive legal procedure. 

The state announced the change for straight couples in response to a petition filed by lesbian parents Orly and Ravit Weiselberg-Zur, of a 2-year-old boy. The High Court hearing is scheduled for Monday.