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      Homosexual Couples get Adoption, 'Maternity' Leave

      In two recent legal breakthroughs, homosexual men have won the right to adopt foster children, take “maternity” leave.
      By Maayana Miskin
      First Publish: 3/16/2009, 7:04 PM / Last Update: 3/17/2009, 2:04 PM

      Two recent precedent-setting cases have given male homosexual couples in Israel the right to adopt children from foster care and to take “maternity” leave.

      On Monday, the National Insurance Institute (Bituach Leumi) ruled that petitioner Yonatan Gher should be paid for “maternity leave” taken in 2008 upon the birth of his biological son to an Indian surrogate mother. Gher's partner has requested the right to take leave as well.

      Gher and his partner have also filed for payment of NIS 10,000 in hospital costs for the time they spent with the surrogate mother prior to delivery.

      The two argue that the state owes them compensation for expenses accrued during the surrogacy process, because they were legally unable to hire an Israeli surrogate mother. Gher rejected the option of having a child with an Israeli woman who wanted a baby as well, saying such an agreement would have put the child in a difficult situation.

      Last Tuesday, Justice Alisa Miller of the Ramat Gan Family Court also ruled that homosexual couple Uzi Even and Amit Kama may adopt 30-year-old Yossi Even-Kama. Yossi became Even and Kama's foster child in 1995.

      Even and Kama were the first homosexual couple to become official foster parents after taking in Yossi.

      The adoption was made possible after Yossi's father signed away his parental rights. Yossi's parents, who raised him until age 14, rejected him after he informed them that he is homosexual.

      MK Nitzan Horowitz of Meretz, himself openly homosexual and a gay rights activist, expressed satisfaction with the court's decision, which he called “an immensely important step towards state recognition of gay families.”