Over one year ago, the High Court ruled the Surrogacy Law in Israel unconstitutional, admitting that the language was flawed. It ordered that the government change it within the year, yet after a number of deadline extensions, the government finally handed the responsibility back to the High Court itself. Finally, the fruits of a longtime ruling are being set into place, and within six months, same-sex couples and single fathers will have the same surrogacy rights as heterosexual couples.
The change is about ten years in the making, with the first legal court case surrounding same-sex surrogacy taking place in 2010. Eight years later, Etai Pinkas Arad, a known LGBTQ activist, chairman of the Aguda, filed a lawsuit, launching the topic into the spotlight. More same-sex couples and single fathers have followed since. In addition to changing the language of the law, the government has also been ordered to pay plaintiffs up to NIS 30,000 in legal expenses.
Of the delayed update, Pinkas Arad says that “In these circumstances, it is not possible to come to terms with the continuing serious violation of human rights caused as a result of the existing surrogacy arrangement, and once a constitutional right has been violated, constitutional relief derived therefrom must be recognized.’”
Nitzan Horowitz, Meretz Leader, made a statement acknowledging the “historic day for the LGBT community in Israel and a historic day for Israeli society as a whole. The right to equality and the right to parenthood received their rightful place in the critical issue of establishing a family.”
“In another six months, we in the Health Ministry will relate to ‘intended parents’ as couples of a man and a woman, same-sex couples, single women and single men. All of these are ‘intended parents’ according to the decision. An achievement like this gives us strength to continue struggling until we achieve fully equal rights for all LGBT people in all aspects of life.”
However advanced this law may seem, it still excludes the rights of same-sex female couples to legal surrogacy rights.