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Israel sanctions overseas gay adoption

April 25, 2008 at 7:19 AM

JERUSALEM, April 25 (UPI) -- Israel has agreed for the first time to register an overseas adoption by a gay couple and to grant citizenship to the child, an attorney for the parents said.

An attorney for the parents told Haaretz the decision in effect recognizes same-sex marriages in Israel.

The landmark case grants Israeli citizenship to an 8-year-old Cambodian-born boy, adopted in 2000 by two men in the United States. The men hold both U.S. and Israeli citizenship and returned to Israel shortly after the adoption.

Israel, however, wouldn't recognize the adoption and since 2001 the child has lived in Israel on a temporary residence visa that is extended annually. Seven years later, officials ruled in favor of the boy "in view of the special circumstances of the case in question and the long time the minor has resided in Israel legally," Haaretz reported.

Attorney Irit Rosenblum, head of the New Family organization that represented the parents, said the decision's significance goes well beyond the one case.

"The meaning of the decision is clear," she said to Haaretz. "The state directly and fully recognizes same-sex couples as parents, akin to heterosexual couples, who can adopt a child overseas and register without constraints as his parents."

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