The absence of civil marriage for everyone and the cultural focus on raising children has resulted in a uniquely Israeli way of approaching LGBTQ families. Rather than fighting for marriage recognition, the major political and social movements have pressed for greater legal recognition of all unmarried couples, and access to surrogacy for same-sex couples. The particular legal and historical Israeli context has its past in the Ottoman empire and its present in a popular campaign for surrogacy rights, culminating in July’s dramatic general strike following the Knesset’s failure to extend surrogacy access to same-sex couples.
Frederick Hertz is an attorney and author based in Oakland, whose work focuses on marriage and dissolution issues for same-sex couples He’s the author of three books on the subject, including the Nolo Press Making It Legal: A Guide to Same-Sex Marriage, Domestic Partnerships & Civil Unions. He taught a course on same-sex family law in Israel in 2012, and led a study tour of LGBTQ family law attorneys to Israel in 2015.