Activists call for same-sex parents’ Thai children to receive passports

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Friends and relatives of the gay couples whose 65 born or soon-to-be-born babies to surrogate mothers in Thailand could be stuck there demonstrated in front Israeli Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar’s home.

The demonstrations began on Tuesday. One parent, whose partner has remained in Thailand for the last two months with their new-born twins, announced on Wednesday in front of Sa’ar’s house that he will go on a hunger strike until his babies receive Israeli citizenship.

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There is a shortage of surrogate mothers in Israel and gay couples in recent years had been encouraged to go abroad.

In Thailand, the birth mothers must sign official local documents giving up custody of their children, before the children are allowed to be taken out of the country. Israeli officials representing several of the country’s ministries told Israeli media that only two of the same-sex couples have formally applied for Israeli passports for their babies, and were missing the proper documentation from the birth mothers.

Several Israeli ministries said that if all the paperwork is submitted appropriately, Israeli passports would be issued to the babies, though it is unclear if Thai officials would let the children leave the country.

Activists on behalf of the same-sex families said the families were told that Israeli diplomatic offices could not help them.