Justice for gay father of twins from Indian surrogate mother

Dan Goldberg, who had to spend more than two months in Mumbai with his twins and was almost broke by the time of his return, attracted worldwide sympathy over the Israel family court judge's decision which many dubbed as "homophobia".

The Jerusalem family court judge last year denied Goldberg's request to authorise a DNA test to prove his paternity of two twins born to a surrogate Indian mother, something crucial for obtaining Israeli citizenship in such cases.

The Israeli judicial ombudsman yesterday blasted Judge Marcus' handling of the case, saying he had unacceptably denigrated father Goldberg's sexual orientation.
Marcus' remarks were "unnecessary, hurtful and beyond the bounds of appropriate behaviour," wrote ombudsman and former Supreme Court justice Eliezer Goldberg.
The family court judge did not allow Goldberg's request for a DNA test to prove his paternity of the twins.

"If it turns out that one of the people sitting here is a pedophile or a serial killer, these are things the state has to check," Marcus said in a ruling concerning two more gay couples.

"What guarantee do we have that these children will become useful citizens of the State of Israel?", he questioned.

Only two months after Marcus' refusal was overturned on appeal did Goldberg get the order for paternity test, a period marked by protests in Israel and even an intervention by Prime Minister Benjamin Netayahu.

Goldberg was stranded in Mumbai with the twins, with no legal status, no insurance and in condition to get them medical care during this period.

Yonatan Gher, director of Jerusalem's Open House for Pride and Tolerance, filed a complaint with the ombudsman on the issue this year in June.

Gher argued that Marcus essentially accused gays of being pedophiles and serial killers unless proven otherwise, besides he also let his prejudice affect the outcome of a legal proceeding causing Goldberg to stay in India unnecessarily.

Marcus in his response told the ombudsman that he indeed believes a child does best with both a mother and a father.

The ombudsman accepted Marcus' contention that the pedophile remark was not meant to hurt the fathers or the gay community, though he stressed that it was poorly phrased and unnecessarily hurtful.

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