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Allow return of gay father, sons to Israel: Protesters

A gay father of twins born to an Indian surrogate mother, stranded in Mumbai for the past two months.



Jerusalem: A gay father of twins born to
an Indian surrogate mother, stranded in Mumbai for the past
two months, got support here as protesters demonstrated on Sunday
against a Israeli family court that has blocked their return
to the country from India.

Carrying placards that read "Return from India ? Itai
and Liron (names of the newly born babies) want to come home",
protesters gathered in front of Israeli prime minister`s
office and shouted slogans against the court ruling dubbing it
"Homophobia and Racism".

Dan Goldberg and his twin sons have been staying at a
Mumbai hotel for the past two months, awaiting permission from
the Jerusalem Family Court to proceed with a paternity test
that would determine whether he is indeed their biological
father.

The twins will not be granted entry to Israel, nor
will they be eligible to receive health insurance or medical
treatments, until the test is performed.

Although family courts in Israel have in the past
issued decrees requiring Israeli parents of children born
abroad to undergo DNA testing to confirm they are in fact the
biological parents, a prerequisite for the childrens`
naturalisation as Israeli citizens, but Judge Philip Marcus in
his decision in March stated that he lacked the jurisdiction
to issue a court order for Goldberg to take a paternity test.

"If it turns out that one of the (purported fathers)
sitting here is a paedophile or serial killer, these are
things that the state must examine," Marcus said justifying
his decision.

He has also delayed issuing decrees in two other
instances involving homosexual couples from Jerusalem
expecting the birth of their children via surrogacy.

Golberg, a Jerusalem restaurateur, cannot legally
bring the babies into Israel without permission from the court
to perform a paternity test.

A primarily religiously observant judges in the
Jerusalem District Court responding to an appeal on behalf of
Goldberg agreed with the petitioner`s claim that Marcus does
have the authority to issue an order for a paternity test, but
ordered that a legal guardian be appointed to represent the
minors, and that the case be referred back to Marcus.

"I spoke with him yesterday, and it was terrible. It
is hard for him. He has received a lot of support from the
people of Israel, but, in reality, nothing is happening.

Liron cried in the background because she didn`t feel well.
She has an eye infection, and he had to beg the hospital to
treat her because he doesn`t have any money," said Tzahi
Shaked, Goldberg`s brother.

Shaked blamed Marcus directly for the plight of the
twins and his brother.

"He says that he feels like if a judge from Tel Aviv
had made the decision, the whole story would have a different
ending. A lot of couples receive a stamp there, almost
immediately. Unlike our case, the feeling is that there is an
intentional attempt to create red tape," he added.

Israeli Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender
Association has also taken up the issue seriously and held
several protests during the last week.

"The community is not willing to quietly accept
anymore slaps across the face. We plan on responding until
things change. It cannot be that those holding all kinds of
view points make decisions according to a whim and rule
against precedents.

Bureaucratic hurdles are being created in places in
which they no longer exist in order to undermine things that
are an existing fact in Israel," Chairman of the Association,
Mike Hamel said.

"It is simply a tragedy that dozens of young couples
need to travel abroad and cannot exercise their basic right of
starting a family in Israel," Hamel said.

Among those participating in the protest was author
Yossi Avni-Levy, who said that he came to the event "in order
to show silent solidarity, that I do know Tzahi and his family
and am convinced that this human absurdity must be solved, not
within days, but in a matter of hours."

Executive Director of The Jerusalem Open House,
Yonatan Gher, accused Judge Marcus of "homophobia and racism".
Gher said a complaint will be filed against Marcus for
claiming that there are murderers and paedophiles within the
gay community.

"Even Yigal Amir (former Prime Minister Yitzhak
Rabin`s assassin) was allowed to have children, but we are not
granted this basic right," a protester said.

PTI

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