This story has it all – a same-sex couple, a court battle over immigration, baby twins and even a tie to the federal government shutdown at the start of the week.
Lawyers for a Los Angeles-based same-sex couple have filed suit against the federal government, alleging that the U.S. State Department is discriminating against them by denying birthright citizenship to one of their twin sons.
Andrew and Elad Dvash-Banks contend in the lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles federal court, that because one son was conceived with the genetic material of a U.S. citizen and the other son with the genetic material of his Israeli-born partner, one of the twins is being treated by the government as a U.S. citizen while the other was forced to enter the country on a tourist visa.
The lawsuit brought on the couple’s behalf by Immigration Equality, an LGBTQ immigrant rights organization, alleges that the State Department denied citizenship to the child because the boy did not have a biological connection to the parent with U.S. citizenship.
A State Department spokesman, via an emailed statement, said he was unavailable for comment after the lawsuit was filed Monday due to the U.S. government shutdown at the start of the week.
The twins, Aidan and Ethan, were conceived through surrogacy in Canada, where the couple married and were living. The twins share an egg donor but one child has the DNA of Los Angeles native Andrew and the other the DNA of Israeli-born Elad.
Both fathers’ names are on the birth certificates, but the State Department’s regulations state that if a child does not have a biological connection to a U.S. citizen parent, the child will not be a U.S. citizen at birth, according to Immigration Equality.
“The State Department is refusing to acknowledge the citizenship of children whose parents are same-sex married couples,” said Aaron C. Morris, executive director of New York-based Immigration Equality and the Dvash-Banks’ attorney. “This policy is not only illegal, it is unconstitutional. This action by the State Department disenfranchises children born to bi-national same-sex parents and places an undue burden on their families.”
— Staff and wire reports