How New Family Organization Paved the Way for Court Recognition of Two Biological Mothers
The historic March 6 verdict to recognize two biological mothers for a single child is a milestone in a process I started over a decade ago. Asserting that the right to parenthood is a human right regardless of faith, gender, sexual orientation or status, I set out to create legal equality for all of Israel’s families through the justice system, with New Family, the organization that I founded and direct, as my vehicle.
The first breakthrough was in 1996, with the debate on the status of a female couple who sought to become parents. The petitioner, Tal Yarus-Hakak, appealed to court against the Health Ministry’s regulations on fertility treatments. The Health Ministry required single women seeking artificial insemination or IVF treatments to undergo evaluation by a psychiatrist and a social worker. These rules discriminated against the petitioner, who had been living with her partner, Dr. Avital Yarus-Hakak, since 1989, and who was not single, but whose same-sex partnership was not recognized.
In 2002, I unsuccessfully petitioned family court to confirm a domestic union agreement between female spouses. After flooding family court with same-sex couple agreements, in a precedent-setting decision, Beer-Sheva family court approved the first agreement. This decision paved the way for legal recognition of the same-sex family in Israel, and today, courts regularly approve agreements between same-sex spouses.