Israeli High Court extends surrogacy rights to gay couples and single men

The current legislation in Israel only allows surrogacy for heterosexual couples and women who are unable to have children. But on February 27, the High Court unanimously extended these rights to same-sex couples and single men. The new law, which parliament has to pass within a year, was met with celebratory enthusiasm by activists and the LGBT+ community.
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The Times of Israel reports that the five-judge panel unanimously made the decision to grant surrogacy rights to gay couples and single men. Previous attempts to extend access to surrogacy were fiercely opposed by religious political parties. Back in 2018, surrogacy rights were granted to unmarried women, which was met with criticism by the gay community and activists due to the exclusion of gay men. The Knesset, the unicameral national legislature of Israel, rejected a bill that would have extended surrogacy laws in favour of same-sex couples in October 2018 (49 to 41 votes). The new ruling however, will give the Knesset no choice but to extend the currently discriminatory law by March 1, 2021.

The rights group Avot Ge’im (‘’Proud Fathers’’) expressed their joy, saying: “We won! This is a dramatic and exciting day, in which Israel at long last strides toward the family of the world’s most advanced nations when it comes to LGBT rights. We’re delighted that after 10 years [of legal petitions], the High Court made the courageous and correct decision, which delivered economic and social justice for tens of thousands of LGBT couples. There is still a long way to go to complete equality, but as of today we can all establish beautiful families — just like everyone else.” The organization further said: “Now we have to make sure the next government passes a new, equal law.”

Aguda, Israel’s largest gay rights group, hailed the decision as a ‘’historic victory for the gay community’’, saying: “This historic decision is another incredible milestone in our fight for equal rights,”

The court is giving the Knesset till March 1, 2021 to change the current legislation, emphasizing that they will only step in and extend the surrogacy rights themselves if the Knesset fails to do so.

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