The spouses of Israelis who have tied the knot in countries where same-sex marriage is legal may soon be able to claim Israeli citizenship at the same speed as straight couples, following an announcement by the country’s attorney general.
Until now, same-sex spouses were forced to wait up to seven years and would generally only be granted permanent residency rather than citizenship. The process was far quicker for those in straight marriages.
Now the government’s chief legal adviser, Avichai Mandelblit, has issued an instruction to Israel’s Interior Ministry to now consider applications under the same terms, according to reports.
The decision came in response to a lawsuit filed in the High Court of Justice by the Gay Fathers Association.
Iris Sheinfeld, a lawyer representing the association, told Israeli newspaper Haaretz she was pleased with the change: “For married same-sex couples, this is an extraordinary achievement”.
“We still have work to do, but from a fundamental and practical standpoint, we are satisfied. In addition, this has a lot of influence on surrogacy abroad”, she added.
While gay marriage is still not legal in Israel, same-sex marriages performed abroad are recognised in for some purposes.
Israeli citizens who have married non-Israeli same-sex partners will soon be able to seek citizenship for their spouses under the same guidelines as heterosexual couples
The decision came after a lawsuit was filed by the Gay Fathers Association on behalf of same-sex married couples. On Tuesday, it was announced by the government’s chief legal adviser, Avichai Mandelblit, that applications will now be considered under the same terms as straight couples. He has ordered the Interior Ministry to streamline the process for gay couples so that they have the same waiting period as heterosexuals.
While the association is thrilled with their big win, they maintain that same-sex couples are not out of the woods yet. “We still have work to do, but from a fundamental and practical standpoint, we are satisfied. In addition, this has a lot of influence on surrogacy abroad,” she added.