The Israeli Supreme Court has given the government six months to lift restrictions on a surrogacy law that excludes same-sex couples.
The court had previously ruled in 2020 that the law, which had been expanded to grant single women access to surrogates previously reserved for heterosexual couples, was unlawful in its exclusion of same-sex parents. The government had one year to revise the law, but had failed to do so.
In Sunday’s ruling, the court said that “since for more than a year the state has done nothing to advance an appropriate amendment to the law, the court ruled that it cannot abide the continued serious damage to human rights caused by the existing surrogacy arrangement,” the AP reports. The change in law will go into effect in six months.
The challenge to the law has been in the court system for over a decade. It was first brought before the court in 2010 by Etai and Yoav Arad-Pinkas, a same-sex couple who challenged the surrogacy exclusion. They said that the ruling “is a big step for equality not just for LGBT in Israel, but for equality in Israel in general.”
The Jerusalem Post reports that Israeli Health Minister, Nitzan Horowitz — who is openly gay — stated in a letter to Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit last week that the Health Ministry “would not oppose” the court’s intervention, since he saw “zero chance” of the government fixing the law on its own.
Although Israel is more tolerant of LGBTQ+ rights than many of its Middle Eastern neighbors, the country still does not recognize same-sex marriage.