Reduced Inequalities

SDG 10 – LGBT Under New Government

Mazal tov! Israel recently celebrated the first baby born in the country itself to a homosexual couple through surrogacy. Truly a milestone.

The groundbreaking birth is the culmination of a struggle that began in the courts three years ago and reached fruition early last year as a law under which all Israelis – including from the LGBT community – can engage surrogate mothers in the country.

Remember the screaming headlines warning against what would happen to the country’s LGBT community under the new Government? Well… Now, we’re not saying that the warnings can’t come true, of course – just that to date, the facts on the ground point more to social equality continuity.

We’ve already reported here that the new Government broadened the “health basket” to also include expanded allocations for homosexual couples. To the best of our knowledge, it also hasn’t cancelled any LGBT-relevant components of the previous “health basket”.

SDG 10 - LGBT Under New Government - Social Impact Israel
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There’s more. In his resignation letter to the Prime Minister last month, a deputy minister known for his anti-LGBT views lamented his inability to replace the labels “parent 1” and “parent 2” on official forms – changes implemented by the previous Government – with “father” and “mother.” If his resignation is any indication, it appears that the Prime Minister is standing behind his condemnation of anti-LGBT remarks coming from coalition members.

Not everything is ideal, of course. The Knesset (parliament) recently blocked an opposition bill intended to officially facilitate child adoption by same-sex couples and single people (the openly gay Knesset Speaker, a coalition member and father of two, voted in favor). Context: while the courts can enable adoption by singles – whether heterosexual or LGBT – the relevant 1981 law in force refers only to a “man and his wife.”

Apropos the Israeli courts: without their pro-LGBT decisions over the years, it is far from certain that the progress that has been made would be a reality at all. Consistent with this, the Supreme Court has just ruled in favor of registering so-called “zoom marriages” (better known in Israel as “Utah marriages”). Since only same-sex marriages performed abroad can be registered, this new decision will make such unions possible without leaving the country.

Particularly when it comes to gay rights in Israel, our regular readers know that we like to look beyond the official realm – toward the people, where the news is usually encouraging. So, we were not surprised to see the outpouring of support for a prominent Haredi-Jewish political commentator on commercial television when he revealed his homosexuality in a Facebook post.

In his personal statement, he made clear just how difficult a step this was for him. Perhaps doing so in a public atmosphere that backs reducing inequalities and advancing SDG10 made it at least a bit easier for him.

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