Gay Israeli Parents Struggling to Get 65 Thai Children Home

 | Fri 24 Jan 2014 13:08 ICT

CityNews – The Israeli government has caused a furore with Israeli parents of about babies born or to be born through surrogate mothers in Thailand. The Thai law says that babies born in Thailand are Thai citizens and the Israeli Interior Ministry has stalled on granting the children Israeli citizenship.

Issuing a passport and moving a baby from Thailand to Israel could be considered abduction under Thai law, which states that a surrogate mother is registered as the baby’s mother. The law also allows surrogate mothers to sue for custody of the children at any point in the child’s life, and many have argued that the concession letter signed by surrogate mothers does nothing to legally unbind the mother’s claim to the child.

Parents have formed a group on Facebook called “Help Us Bring the Babies Home” which has about 21,000 likes at the time of writing. Many people say that the Israeli government is keeping families apart because they are anti-LGBT, as Israeli law says that homosexual couples are prohibited from becoming surrogate parents, which means their only chance at children born through surrogacy are in overseas countries.  

 Thailand has long been a popular choice for people looking for children through adoption or surrogacy. The red-tape surrounding this particular group of people have made others wary to future instances of bias or withholding surrogate children.

Supporters of the families have been demonstrating outside the Israeli Interior Minister’s house in Tel Aviv, and some protesters have embarked on hunger strikes until the matter is resolved and the children are reunited with their adoptive parents. Advocates have heavily and publicly criticised the government of both sides for not making the immigration process smoother, especially since all the parents involved did everything legally and above board.

The Israeli Interior Ministry can rectify the situation by granting the surrogate children Israeli citizenship, which it has generally done before with children born through surrogacy to heterosexual Israeli couples.