Washington Post

Israeli Court Backs Lesbian Rights

By Jack Katzenell
Associated Press Writer
Washington Post
Monday, May 29, 2000; 11:51 a.m. EDT

JERUSALEM –– In a landmark decision, Israel's Supreme Court on Monday recognized the right of a lesbian spouse to be registered as the second parent of her partner's biological son.

An ultra-Orthodox lawmaker accused the judges of imposing the norms of the biblical city of Sodom.

The court ordered the Interior Ministry to register American-born Nicole Berner-Kadish as the mother of 4-year-old Matan Berner-Kadish, biological son of Ruti Berner-Kadish.

Nicole Berner-Kadish hailed the Supreme Court ruling and said there are dozens of lesbian and homosexual couples in Israel in the same situation. "Matan is the only one with the security of having two parents by law," she said.

Israeli-born Ruti Berner-Kadish, 36, was impregnated by means of artificial insemination and Matan was born in the United States. Nicole Berner-Kadish adopted Matan in the United States, but was informed by Israeli consular officials that in Israel, she would not be recognized as a parent of the boy.

Lawyers for the state told Israel's Supreme Court that a child cannot have two mothers. However, the court ruled 2-1 in favor of the couple.

Rabbi Avraham Ravitz, a legislator from the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party, submitted a motion in parliament, expressing outrage over the Supreme Court ruling.

"I know of a state which had laws like this. It was called Sodom," he said. "The judges are intelligent but they are cut off from their Jewish roots and from the true feelings of society."

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