A federal judge granted citizenship to a twin son of a Los Angeles-based same-sex couple, ruling that the child has been an American citizen since birth, attorneys announced Friday.
According to the written order Thursday by U.S. District Judge John F. Walter, the U.S. State Department had no legitimate reason to deny birthright citizenship to 2-year-old Ethan Dvash-Banks.
Lawyers for Andrew and Elad Dvash-Banks filed suit in January 2018 against the federal government, alleging 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 was being treated by the government as a U.S. citizen while the other was forced to enter the country on a tourist visa.
A State Department spokesman said the department is reviewing the judge’s ruling in coordination with the U.S. Department of Justice.
The lawsuit, brought on the couple’s behalf in Los Angeles federal court by Immigration Equality, an LGBTQ immigrant rights organization, alleged 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.
“For two years, this is something that weighed on us every single day,” Andrew Dvash-Banks said. “Not knowing whether Ethan would be allowed to stay in the U.S. is something we went to bed with every night. Now, our family is whole and safe.”
While the judge found that as a child born to a married U.S. citizen parent, Ethan is entitled to birthright citizenship, the judge’s decision did not order the State Department to change its policy.
“This is a huge victory for Ethan Dvash-Banks and his family,” said Aaron C. Morris, executive director of Immigration Equality. “Ethan will no longer be considered the undocumented twin of his brother Aiden. Yesterday’s ruling rightfully determined that Ethan has been a U.S. citizen since birth. While this ruling did not explicitly strike down the State Department’s policy, it is a strong indication that the department should do so on its own. We will continue to fight until all same-sex couples have their relationships fully recognized.”
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