Israeli court grants lesbian couple adoption rights in landmark case
January 11 2005 1:00 AM ET
Israel's supreme court ruled Monday that a lesbian couple can adopt each other's children. But the judges in their 7-2 decision cautioned against viewing the case as setting a precedent, saying their considerations dealt specifically with this couple and the judges' view of what was the best for these children.
The case dealt with a lesbian couple, together for 15 years, with three boys conceived from sperm donated anonymously to a bank. Two lower courts had thrown out the women's request to adopt each other's children. "The greatest difficulty for our children is the society in which they live," said Tali Yarus-Khakak, one of the mothers. "This lets my son wake up tomorrow morning proud of his family."
Same-sex couples are often ostracized by Israel's conservative society, whose values are often based on Jewish tradition.
Yarus-Khakak, the mother of two of the boys, told Israel Radio the decision would grant her and her partner greater legal rights with each other's children. In the past, even clerks at the Interior Ministry had not permitted Yarus-Khakak to renew the passport of her partner's son, she said.
Yarus-Khakak acknowledged that the judges had warned against assuming the ruling was precedent-setting but said her family could serve as an example for many other same-sex couples in Israel.
The court decision came just a month after Israel's attorney general granted legal recognition to same-sex couples for tax, real estate, and other financial purposes. The decision prompted an outcry from some Orthodox Jews, who considered it sacrilegious.