By Hilary White

  JERUSALEM, April 25, 2008 ( – The Israeli Interior Ministry has granted the request of two homosexual men to recognize the overseas adoption of an eight year-old boy from Cambodia. The child, who had been living in Israel on temporary visas, will also be granted Israeli citizenship.

  The two men, who remained anonymous in the press, hold dual US and Israeli citizenship and adopted the boy in the US in 2000. When their application to the Israeli Interior Ministry to recognize the adoption and grant the child citizenship were refused, the two men filed a petition in the High Court of Justice against the interior minister.

  In a letter to their lawyer, the two men were told by the senior deputy state prosecutor, Einat Golomb, that the decision had been taken to register the adoption in the Interior Ministry’s population registry and grant Israeli citizenship to the child “in view of the special circumstances of the case in question and the long time the minor has resided in Israel legally.”

  The two men were represented by lawyers from the lobby group New Family, an organization calling itself “a human rights organization working to attain legal recognition of every family unit in Israel to ensure equal rights for every type of family”.

  New Family’s director, attorney Irit Rosenblum, said the case was significant because it means the de facto recognition by the state of same-sex unions as “families”.

“The meaning of the decision is clear: The state directly and fully recognizes same-sex couples as parents, akin to heterosexual couples, who can adopt a child overseas and register without constraints as his parents,” she said.

  The Jerusalem newspaper, Haaretz, referring to the two men as “the parents”, has called the decision a “landmark”.

  But this ruling is only one of a long line of such developments and depended upon the outcome of another case involving two women and three children conceived in the US by in vitro fertilization.

  In February 2006, a family court in Jerusalem ruled that the two lesbian women in the case must both be listed as mothers on the adoption paperwork for three children they acquired through in vitro fertilization. This followed a High Court ruling that declared same-sex relationships must be treated in law the same as a natural marriage between a man and a woman. 

  It also follows closely on the heels of another case that was decided in a court in Tel Aviv in March this year, in which two men Giora Shavit and Avi Shadiv, were both allowed to declare themselves legal fathers of an adopted boy.

  In early February this year, Israel’s Attorney General Meni Mazuz declared to the Welfare Ministry that homosexual couples are allowed to adopt.

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