Gay couple sues State Dept for denying surrogate child’s citizenship

Gay couple sues State Dept for denying surrogate child’s citizenship
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A gay couple is suing the U.S. State Department after the agency informed the couple that one of their twin sons, born through a surrogate mother, was denied citizenship because his father is an Israeli citizen, The Associated Press reported Wednesday.

Andrew and Elad Dvash-Banks, who are American and Israeli citizens, respectively, had two boys born through donor eggs carried by a surrogate mother in Canada last year. The two twin boys, Ethan and Aiden, share the same mother but each carries DNA from only one of the two fathers.

Upon returning to the U.S. with his family, Andrew Dvash-Banks was informed that his second twin, Ethan — who is biologically Elad's son — was not linked by DNA to an American citizen, and therefore does not benefit from automatic American citizenship.

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LGBT and immigrants' rights groups argue that the agency is wrong, and that any child born to a U.S. citizen who marries abroad is owed U.S. citizenship, regardless of where they are born or whether one parent is a foreigner.

"What we're trying to do is pursue justice for Ethan," said Elad Dvash-Banks, "and correct a wrong that the State Department is continuing to pursue that might affect other couples."

"I started crying," added Andrew Dvash-Banks. "These are twins, how can you differentiate between them? They were born minutes apart."

Immigration Equality's executive director Aaron Morris told the AP that the agency's decision represents a type of discrimination that gay or otherwise nontraditional families experience at the hands of U.S. immigration personnel.

"If a mother and father walk into a consulate and have a marriage certificate and birth certificate, they're never asked any questions about the biology of the child," said Morris. "But the converse is also true and every same-sex couple will be asked that."

Legal experts say the 2010 defeat of the Defense of Marriage Act at the Supreme Court paved the way for a number of cases involving both artificial insemination and LGBT parenthood to come forward.

"This is an absolutely fascinating, cutting edge area of law that stems from [the Defense of Marriage Act] being overturned," immigration lawyer Ally Bolour told the AP. "It was just a matter of time for this issue to be decided by the courts."