Israeli government has two months to rethink gay adoption policy, Supreme Court says

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Supreme Court has given the government two months to reconsider its opposition to allowing same-sex couples to adopt in the country.

The decision Tuesday comes a day after the state told the court in response to a petition that the government remains opposed to allowing same-sex couples to adopt.

The state’s decision not to change its stance on same-sex couples “takes into account the reality of Israeli society and the difficulty it may entail with regard to the child being adopted,” the government said Monday in its response, citing Child Welfare Services.

Welfare and Social Affairs Minister Haim Katz asked the court Tuesday for an extension to re-examine the issue, saying he wanted to seek more professional opinions.

Amir Ohana, the first openly gay Likud lawmaker and a gay rights activist, said Tuesday that he would not vote with the government coalition until the recommendation opposed to same-sex couples adopting is changed.

Same-sex couples can be approved for adoption, but they can only adopt children for whom a heterosexual couple cannot be found. Consequently the same-sex couples are generally offered special needs or at-risk children, or older children who cannot be placed. Many same-sex couples adopt babies from other countries.

The Supreme Court petition regarding adoption by same-sex and common-law couples was filed by the Association of Israeli Gay Fathers, with the Israel Religious Action Center of the Reform movement, against the Social Affairs Ministry and the attorney general.

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