Israel | Gay dads must both be named on birth certificate

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Israel’s top court has ruled in favour of two gay dads both being officially named as the parents of their adopted child.

On Wednesday, the High Court of Justice ordered the country’s Interior Ministry to list the names of the two men as the legal parents of the boy on his birth certificate.

The child was jointly adopted by the couple but officials refused to include both of their names on the certificate because they are of the same sex.

“It is unreasonable for the couple to be [legally] recognised as parents but for the certificate not to give expression to that fact,” wrote Justice Neal Hendel in the unanimous ruling. In their decision, the three judges found that the case concerned both the parents’ rights and the rights of the child, reports Haaretz.

Said Justice Hendel: “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.”

The case was filed by LGBT rights group The Aguda, along with the couple. In a statement, the organisation called the court’s ruling a “victory” for LGBT families.

“This is a historic decision that affects all state agencies and the courts,” The Aguda said on its Facebook page. “The decision pulls the rug out from under the various arguments by the state with regard to LGBT parenting. The time has come to stop the unacceptable discrimination against us. We will continue to fight in the streets, the courts and the Knesset [Parliament] until we are no longer second-class citizens.”

The ruling is expected to impact two other pending cases before the court. The first involves a lesbian couple, one of whom gave birth to a child, also seeking to have both their names on the birth certificate. The other concerns a transgender man who wishes to be identified as his child’s father and not as his mother.

Israel is known as the most tolerant country in the Middle East when it comes to LGBT people, including having anti-discrimination laws in place (but not marriage equality). Some human rights activists, however, have accused the state of using and promoting its tolerance for the LGBT community to deflect from gross human rights abuses of the Palestinian people.

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