Gay American couple sues State Department over daughter's citizenship

Gay American couple sues State Department over daughter's citizenship
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A gay U.S. couple is reportedly suing Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoSchiff: Diplomacy with Iran 'only way out of this situation' Bolton exit provokes questions about Trump shift on Iran Buttigieg: Not too late for US to be 'constructive force' in Middle East MORE for discrimination after the State Department denied citizenship to their daughter, who was born in the U.K. with help of a surrogate.

The New York Times reported that James Derek Mize and his husband Jonathan Gregg filed a lawsuit Tuesday after their daughter, Simone, was denied citizenship even though both of her parents are American citizens.

Simone was born in the U.K. last year using the donor egg of a British friend and Gregg’s sperm. She was reportedly denied citizenship when the family submitted an application after returning home to the U.S. Her tourist visa will expire at the end of July. 

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“I try not to think about ICE coming to our door and deporting our baby,” Mize told the Times, referring to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “That is a pretty hard thing to think about.”

The State Department has a policy requiring that children born abroad through assisted reproductive technology and surrogacy must show biological parentage in order to obtain citizenship.

At least two other same-sex couples are suing the agency for similar reasons and nearly 100 congressional Democrats last month urged Pompeo to reverse the “cruel” policy, according to the Times.

The State Department told The Hill it would not comment on ongoing litigation.

The Times reported that in court documents the department has argueed that the policy does not discriminate and applies to opposite-sex and same-sex couples alike.

Under the State Department policy, cases where the source of the sperm and egg do not match married parents are treated as “out of wedlock” and require a higher bar to transmit citizenship, the Times reported.

Gregg, a U.K.-born citizen to an American mother, does not meet the five-year U.S. residency requirement, but the newspaper said the couples’ lawyers argue that would not matter if the couple had been treated as married.

Under the Obama administration, after same-sex marriage was legalized, the State Department policy was adjusted, according to the Times, so that biological connection could be tied to supplying the egg or the sperm as well as giving birth to a child, allowing same-sex couples to have a child “in wedlock.”

But under the Trump administration, the State Department is fighting the lawsuits in courts in what critics are saying is discrimination against same-sex parents.