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U.S. Jewish Groups Urge Israel To Give Equal Adoption Rights To LGBT Couples

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Some 200 North American Jewish leaders and institutions urged the Israeli government to end discrimination against same-sex couples who want to adopt children.

The call came in a letter coordinated by A Wider Bridge, a San Francisco-based organization that focuses on ties between U.S. and Israeli LGBTQ communities. Signatories included Hillel International, leaders of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Union of Reform Judaism, prominent Jewish LGBT leaders and over 60 U.S. rabbis.

Last week, Israel notified the High Court of Justice that it would not lift discriminatory practices against same-sex couples, as they “load additional baggage” on their children. Same-sex couples are legally allowed to be approved for adoption, but they typically must wait longer and can only receive children if no heterosexual couple is available.

“The government’s brief and position have created a justifiable uproar throughout Israeli society,” according to the letter. “LGBTQ Israelis, their families, and allies across the country are speaking out with unparalleled unity at both the callousness and ignorance of the government’s position.”

The letter noted that while Israel has provided the LGBTQ community with public benefits and the ability to serve in the Israeli army, the issue of “adoption by same-sex families has been one of the glaring exceptions” to its reputation as gay friendly.

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