Little Green Footballs

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Israel does the right thing (again)

Many of Charles' minions are sure to be flummoxed by this:

Israel will extend gay couples full adoption rights, thanks to a ruling by Attorney General Menachem Mazuz on Sunday.

Previously, gay couples could adopt only if the child was one of the partners’ biological offspring.

“I welcome the decision,” said Welfare Minister Isaac Herzog. “There is no reason why same-sex couples who meet the criteria for adoption should not be able to join the process of adoption and of parenthood. We must adapt to the spirit of the times and the changes that are afoot.”

Israel has moved quickly on gay civil rights since the Knesset decriminalized homosexuality in 1988. There have been no restrictions on gays serving in the military since 1993. In 2000, the age of consent for gays was lowered to 16, to match the legal age for consensual sex for heterosexuals.

Gay couples are given most federal rights in Israel, although gay marriages (which are only religious marriages in Israel) are not permitted. Gay marriages performed abroad, however, are recognized as of 2006. Private companies as well as the public sector are required to give gay employees the same benefits as straight employees.

In this respect, as in many others, Israel is much more in line with liberal European democracies than with its principal patron and protector.

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