Welfare Minister Ya’akov Margi said Thursday in a response to a High Court petition against the Child Adoption Law that affording same-sex couples adoption rights is against a child’s best interests.
The petition, filed by civil and LGBTQ rights organizations and several same-sex couples, calls for broadening the interpretation of the current adoption law so that it includes same-sex couples among the exceptions to the rule that only married heterosexual couples can adopt a child.
The law only allows exceptions in cases in which the child’s parents died and the adopting parent is an unmarried close relative, or if the adopting parent’s partner is the child’s biological parent or had previously adopted the child. The High Court of Justice has recognized a loophole in the law by allowing same-sex partners of a biological parent to adopt the child.
In her response to the petition, Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara said that the ideal way to solve the issue is through Knesset legislation, though this is currently politically infeasible.
Nevertheless, Baharav-Miara wrote in her response that there are reasonable interpretations of the law that grant same-sex couples adoption rights.
Margi, from the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, insisted that the current law should not be amended or reinterpreted because allowing a child to be adopted by a same-sex couple would be against the child’s best interests.
According to the welfare minister, allowing children to be adopted by a same-sex couple “would add additional complexities to their lives” and the government should “preserve as much as possible the lifestyle and family framework in which they were born.”
In February, an opposition bill granting same-sex couples adoption rights was voted down. Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana, who is openly gay, was the only coalition member to vote for the bill.