JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israeli government remains opposed to allowing same-sex couples to adopt in the country, the state said in response to a Supreme Court petition.

The government did say, however, it will now allow common-law heterosexual couples who have been living together for three years to adopt children in Israel.

The state’s decision not to change its stance on same-sex couples “takes into account the reality of Israeli society and the difficulty it may entail with regard to the child being adopted,” the government said in a response to the court, citing Child Welfare Services.

Same-sex couples can be approved for adoption, but they can only adopt children for whom a heterosexual couple cannot be found. Consequently the same-sex couples are generally offered special needs or at-risk children, or older children who cannot be placed. Many same-sex couples adopt babies from other countries.

The Supreme Court petition regarding adoption by same-sex and common-law couples was filed by the Association of Israeli Gay Fathers, with the Israel Religious Action Center of the Reform movement, against the Social Affairs Ministry and the attorney general, according to Haaretz.

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