Top Israeli Court Rules Both Parents of LGBT Adoptions Be Listed on Birth Certificate

'It’s inconceivable that both members of the couple are recognized as parents, but the certificate doesn’t reflect this,' one of the justices wrote after a decision to treat homosexual and heterosexual adoption the same

Lee Yaron
Lee Yaron
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A LGBT protest against surrogacy law in Be'er Sheva, 2018.
A LGBT protest against surrogacy law in Be'er Sheva, 2018. Credit: Ilan Assayag
Lee Yaron
Lee Yaron

The names of both same-sex parents must be registered on the birth certificates of babies they have adopted, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday.

The court was ruling on a petition by a homosexual couple that claimed they were being discriminated against compared to heterosexual couples. When a heterosexual couple adopts a baby, the Interior Ministry gives them a birth certificate bearing the name of both adoptive parents. But it doesn’t do that for homosexual couples, arguing that only one father and one mother should be listed for each baby.

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The fathers, who filed the petition together with the Aguda – LGBT Task Force, also argued that this discrimination hurts the child, both because it immediately proclaims that he was adopted and because it complicates otherwise simple bureaucratic procedures that require a birth certificate.

The court agreed, and ordered the ministry to issue the baby a birth certificate bearing the name of both fathers.

“The principle of the child’s welfare supports registering his full family unit and doesn’t permit making do with registering one of the parents on the birth certificate while excluding the other and undermining his right to parenthood, given the contrast in the treatment of a child adopted by a heterosexual couple, who is entitled to have both his adoptive parents registered on the birth certificate – a contrast that affects both the child and the parents,” Justice Neal Hendel wrote for the court. “It’s inconceivable that both members of the couple are recognized as parents, but the certificate doesn’t reflect this.”

Parents at the Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem, August, 2018.
Parents at the Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem, August, 2018. Credit: Olivier Fitoussi

Two petitions on similar issues are currently pending before the court. One, by a lesbian couple, demands that the birth certificates of children they gave birth to bear the names of both mothers. The other, by a transgender father, demands that his son’s birth certificate list him as the father rather than the mother. Wednesday’s ruling seems to indicate that the court is likely to grant both petitions.

“We’re happy to see the Supreme Court remind the Interior Ministry of what should have been self-evident – that parents are parents, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation or gender,” the fathers’ attorneys, Hagai Kalai and Daniela Yaakobi, said in a statement. “The court made it clear that a literal approach, which undermines the rights of LGBT parents for no reason, cannot stand. We hope that in light of its clear statements, the Interior Ministry will reconsider its policy of refusing to register same-sex couples on their children’s birth certificates and refusing to register transgender parents by the correct gender on their children’s birth certificates.”

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