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December 8, 2016 1:30 pm

Israel’s Attorney General to Streamline Citizenship Process for LGBT Couples

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Tel Aviv's LGBT pride parade in 2013. Photo: U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv.

Tel Aviv’s LGBT pride parade in 2013. Photo: U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv. – Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelbilt informed the country’s High Court of Justice Thursday that he will work to streamline the process of obtaining citizenship for the foreign partners of LGBT Israelis in order to bring that process in line with the experience of heterosexual couples.

“This is a huge victory,” said Udi Ledergor, chairman of the Israeli Gay Dads Association, which filed a petition before the High Court on the issue, Yedioth Ahronoth reported. “The old procedure struck a fatal blow to the possibility of same-sex couples from becoming parents and giving their children the status they deserve. We decided to attack all the main discriminatory elements, one of which is the absence of naturalization possibilities for foreign spouses.”

The petition submitted to the High Court pointed out that it is more difficult for LGBT Israelis who marry foreign men or women to apply for citizenship than it is for straight Israelis who marry foreigners.

According to the current law, the process for acquiring full citizenship for straight couples takes four years, while the process for naturalization for LGBT couples is seven years, with most same-sex partners only receiving permanent resident status rather than full citizenship. Additionally, for the rare cases in which foreign same-sex partners do receive citizenship, they are required to forfeit their foreign citizenship.

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