Israel strikes down law banning gay couples from using surrogates to have children

Surrogacy same-sex couples gay

The Supreme Court in Israel has struck down a law preventing same-sex couples from using surrogate mothers to have children.

The court threw the law out yesterday (February 27) and gave the country’s parliament, the Knesset, a year to implement a new law to allow gay couples to access surrogacy.

A summary of the decision released by the High Court of Justice said the archaic law was violating “the right to equality and the right to parenthood of these groups” and argued that it was “illegal”, according to The Times of Israel.

The five-judge panel, led by Chief Justice Esther Hayut, ruled unanimously that the law should be struck down.

LGBT+ rights group in Israel praised ‘courageous and correct decision’.

Human rights organisation Proud Fathers, who petitioned to have the case heard, said the ruling was a “dramatic and exciting” moment.

“We’re delighted that after 10 years, the High Court made the courageous and correct decision, which delivered economic and social justice for tens of thousands of LGBT couples,” Proud Fathers added.

“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 statement added: “Now we have to make sure the next government passes a new, equal law.”

Meanwhile, Justice Minister Amir Ohana, who is openly gay, praised the ruling, but said that the law will still have to be passed in the Knesset.

“I’ll act to ensure that that happens. Obviously I support surrogacy access for same-sex couples with all my heart,” Ohana said.

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.

“Israel has the opportunity to be a pioneer, alongside the United States and Canada, in allowing everyone the freedom to have a family.”

Several attempts have been made to expand surrogacy rights to same-sex couples.

Under the current law, surrogacy is limited to straight couples and single women who are unable to conceive. Past attempts to expand access to same-sex couples have been unsuccessful.

In July 2018, Israel’s LGBT+ community took part in a nationwide strike when surrogacy was extended to single women, but not to same-sex couples.

In October of that year, the Knesset voted against a bill to extend surrogacy to same-sex couples by 49 to 41, despite support from Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

While Netanyahu had experessed support for the bill, he ultimately voted against it, claiming there was not enough support to pass it.