JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel’s Ministry of Welfare and Social Affairs has reversed its opposition to allowing same-sex couples to adopt in the country.
The ministry said there is no problem in principle with adoption by a same-sex couple in a brief filed with Israel’s Supreme Court, Israel’s Channel 2 first reported Tuesday evening. The brief was filed in response to a petition regarding adoption by same-sex and common-law couples 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.
The reversal came at the request of Welfare Minister Haim Katz, according to the report. In July, Katz had asked the court for an extension on issuing an opinion to re-examine the issue, saying he wanted to seek more professional opinions.
The ministry stressed that the rules regarding such adoptions can only be made by amending existing legislation.
“In these circumstances and in a matter that has such significant social implications in today’s Israeli society, it appears that the proper place for further discussion of this issue is the legislature,” the opinion said, according to Channel 2.
Although adoption by same-sex couples has been legal in Israel since 2008, in practice it has been nearly impossible. Because opposite-sex couples have been given priority, only three same-sex couples have adopted in Israel out of 550 applicants. More than 1,000 opposite-sex couples have adopted in the past nine years.