Jewish gay couple sues US for denying citizenship to one of their twins

The suit charges that the State Department’s “policy unconstitutionally disregards the dignity and sanctity of same-sex marriages by refusing to recognize the birthright citizenship of the children.”

January 24, 2018 19:05
1 minute read.
Male same-sex couple [Illustrative]

Male same-sex couple [Illustrative]. (photo credit: INGIMAGE)


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A Jewish same-sex couple is suing the United States for denying citizenship to one of their twin sons.

Andrew Dvash-Banks, an American, and Elad Dvash-Banks, an Israeli, married in Canada in 2010. Their sons, Ethan and Aiden, now 16 months, were conceived with donor eggs and the sperm from both fathers, and were born from the same surrogate mother minutes apart in September 2016. Both fathers are listed as the parents on the birth certificates.

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Shortly after the births, the fathers went to the US Consulate in Toronto to apply for American citizenship for their sons. The officer there asked for “highly personal details” about the conception of the twins, leading the men to leave the consulate “shocked, humiliated, and hurt,” according to the lawsuit filed Monday by Immigration Equality, an LGBTQ immigrant rights organization, and the law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell.

The men and the babies were “forced to submit DNA tests and other documentation of their biological relationships to their boys, even though the law imposes no biological requirement,” according to the Immigration Equality.

The tests proved that Elad Dvash-Banks is the father of Ethan and Andrew Dvash-Banks is the father of Aiden.

In March, Aiden received a US passport, but Ethan received a letter saying his citizenship request had been denied. The family has since moved to Los Angeles and applied for a Green Card for Ethan. The lawsuit, which was filed against the State Department in U.S. District Court in Central California, asks the court to declare that he is a U.S. citizen from birth.

The suit charges that the State Department’s “policy unconstitutionally disregards the dignity and sanctity of same-sex marriages by refusing to recognize the birthright citizenship of the children of married same-sex couples.”

It claims the twins qualify for citizenship under the Immigration and Nationality Act, but the State Department is applying a section that applies to children born out of wedlock.

“The fact that the State Department’s policy has led children identified by their birth certificates as twins with the same parents to have different nationalities listed on their passports crystallizes both the indignity and absurdity of the policy’s effect,” the lawsuit also says.

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