Gay Israeli dad to return home with kids

Jerusalem:  After being stranded in Mumbai for over three months, an Israeli father along with his twin baby boys born to an Indian surrogate mother, is all set to return to Jerusalem after the kids were granted Israeli passports.

Dan Goldberg, his twins, Itai and Liron, and his male partner Arnon Angel will be reaching Israel on Friday morning.

The case attracted worldwide attention because of the refusal of Jerusalem family court judge, Phillip Marcus, to allow a paternity test to initiate the process for Israeli citizenship for the twins.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had to intervene following protests by left wing and the Gay community in Israel which dubbed the incident "Homophobia and racism".

The interior ministry there allowed Goldberg to return with his twins after the DNA paternity established last week that he was indeed the father of the twins.

The twins could not have entered Israel, nor would they have been eligible to receive health insurance or medical treatments until the paternity test was performed.

Marcus had rejected a motion to perform a paternity test two days before the infants were born claiming the family court wasn't authorised to rule on the matter.

He claimed that the court could not pass judgment on children who were not in Israel and "whose affinity to Israel has not been proven," since it was not confirmed whether their father was an Israeli citizen.

During a hearing he defended his position explaining, "If it turns out that one of the people sitting here (the three homosexuals) is a pedophile or a serial killer, these are things the state needs to check".

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 children's' naturalisation as Israeli citizens, but Marcus had refused to do so in three cases, all related to homosexual couples from Jerusalem expecting the birth of their children via surrogacy.

Following the controversial decision, an appeal was filed with the Jerusalem District Court which accepted the claim that the family court should be the one to rule in the case.

The district court ruled that it was in the children's best interest to hold the test.

The issue was debated in the Knesset (Israeli parliament) where Netanyahu said that the infants should be brought to Jerusalem following legal procedures.

Judge Marcus finally agreed to allow for the paternity test last Monday saying that he had decided to approve the test after receiving authority to do so from the Jerusalem District Court, as well as a statement from the prosecution saying the state was not opposed to it.

DNA samples of Goldberg and the twins were brought to the Sheeba Medical Centre in Israel which established him as the father of the infants.
Story First Published: May 27, 2010 15:26 IST

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