A gay couple in the state of Israel that have two year-old twins tried to be responsible parents by registering their child into a day care center.
Upon turning in the paperwork, a clerk informed them that she was required by regulation to identify one of them as the child’s ‘mother’, and the other as a father.
According to Out Magazine, the Shahoms – Guy Sudaka and Hai Aviv – submitted an application for Financial Aid to afford paying for child care when they receive a call from the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. The representative told Sudaka that she understood that the two were part of a gay couple, but that the paperwork needed to process their request requires that one of the two identify as more ‘dominant’ than the other.
“I understand that you are both fathers and that you run a shared household, but there is always the one who is more dominant, who is more ‘the mother’…I am just asking for I am just asking for a written statement declaring which of you is the mother. From the point of view of the work – which works less than the father? Like a normal couple,” the representative asked the couple. According to Sudaka and Aviv, she stressed that this would only be for internal purposes and their answer “really doesn’t matter,” but they were subject to Ministry of Economy guidelines that didn’t recognize non-heterosexual families.
“We are not going to investigate this, we are not going to check, we are only examining your eligibility,” the representative tried explaining.
“It kind of made me laugh,” Sudaka reacted according to NBC News. “But this ignorance in a government office when it’s just about 2020 just seems crazy to me. I felt frustrated that I have to give answers that don’t make any sense.”
Another official at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs cold Sudaka and Aviv again later, apologizing and informing them they would process the order without the originally requested information. “We emphasize that the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs’ practices explicitly treat all types of families and grant equal rights to all,” the agency said in a statement to Ynet, the Israeli-based publication that initially reported the story. They pledged to update their regulations and further train call center employees.
Sudaka and Aviv were surprised that this discrimination happened to them within Tel Aviv, Israel, which is described as a LGBTQ-friendly town, although “there are landlords who won’t rent to gay couples,” Sudaka reports. They also note that the tolerance for LGBTQ people is not as high as it is within the city.
Israel does not allow same-sex marriages within the state, but accept and recognize foreign marriage ceremonies. Additionally, adoptions by LGBTQ+ parents has proven hard as well, and the government is reported to have only allowed 3 same-sex couples to make adoptions from 2008 to 2017.
As reported by NBC News:
The couple’s twins, a boy and a girl, were born in the U.S. via surrogate in 2017. While Israel immediately recognized the children as citizens, each child was conceived using a donor egg and sperm from each of the two men. As a result, Sadaka and Aviv still have to undergo a bureaucratic procedure to “unify [their] family” and grant parental rights to each other’s biological child — an extra step Sadaka said straight couples don’t have to deal with.
“As long as the religious parties still control the government, we won’t see a real change,” Sadaka said.
The National LGBT Task Force’s director-general Ohad Hizki told Ynet that the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs’ response was “an insufficient apology to change long-standing discrimination.” He said, “The Ministry…must sharpen its procedures immediately to prevent recurrence of cases of this kind, as other public organizations have been able to do.”