A gay couple is suing the US government for granting one of their twin-sons citizenship and refusing the other. The Guardian is reporting that Andrew and Elad Dyash-Banks used the same egg donor mother but provided individual DNA to father, Aiden and Ethan.
However, Ethan was denied birthright citizenship.
Aiden has the DNA of Andrew, a 37-year-old travel manager from Los Angeles. While Ethan was fathered by Elad, a 32-year-old nonprofit worker who was born in Israel but who owns a green card.
The pair met at a Tel Aviv party over a decade ago where they were both studying as university students. They got engaged two years later and got married in Canada in 2010 when gay marriage was still prohibited in America. The twins were born using their sperm and eggs from an unnamed donor in 2016.
Andrew and Elad are calling the move by the US government discriminatory one, arguing that the twins are meant to be eligible for citizenship because they are both US citizens. However, from the perspective of the US government, the boys are not of equal status even though they share the same fathers. This development has prompted the gay couple to file a lawsuit against the government.
The State Department refused to comment on the pending litigation, but directed all questions to their website where it states that there must be a biological connection to a US citizen for a child to be recognized as a citizen at birth.
This has not stopped Andrew and Elad from filing a federal lawsuit and questioning the policy that they allege deny birthright citizenship to the children of gay couples. A situation Andrew points out would have been highly unlikely if they were heterosexual.
“The message is that you’re not fully equal. Your family is less than other families. My son has been wronged here by the government. We’re fighting this to protect our son and family.”
According to the Chicago Tribune, the controversy started when the couple took their infants to the American consulate in Toronto to apply for US citizenship. The consular official had asked for a DNA test to confirm who the biological father was for each boy. The couple had initially refused, but was told none of the twins would get citizenship if they did not take the tests.
The DNA tests proved who fathered each boy and while Aiden’s application was approved, Ethan’s was denied. Presently, the couple is living in Los Angeles and Ethan’s tourist visa has since expired. They hope to succeed with a green card application for 14-month-old Ethan as he is currently not documented.
This case has beamed a searchlight on the challenges LGBT immigrant families are facing even after same-sex marriages were declared legal in all 50 states of America in 2015.
Aaron Morris, executive director of Immigration Equality agrees that the State Department played the wrong card, adding that a marriage certificate or birth certificate is all that is required to grant a child citizenship. He said the department was wrongfully applying a policy for children born out of wedlock to same-sex couples.
“If a mother and father walk into a consulate and have a marriage certificate and birth certificate, they are never asked any questions about the biology of the child.”
BBC is reporting that a parallel case was also filed against the US government. According to the story, Allison Blixt, an American citizen and Stefania Zaccari, an Italian got married and each gave birth to a boy. However, the State Department granted citizenship only to the boy with the American mother.