This week, Immigration Equality, a legal advocacy group, officially filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government on behalf of Andrew and Elad Dvash-Banks, a married couple whose child is being denied American citizenship. Andrew and Elad are currently living in Canada, where they had two kids, Ethan and Aiden, via a surrogate pregnancy. Canadian law recognizes the couple as the children’s sole parents and, since Andrew is American, they assumed the kids would be entitled to United States citizenship without any issue. However, when they visited the United States embassy in Toronto, things quickly got complicated.
A consular official at the embassy asked Andrew and Elad which of them provided the sperm for their children. The couple was understandably hesitant about having to reveal this private information but eventually told the official that Ethan was conceived using Elad’s sperm while Aiden was conceived with Andrew’s. The two shared an anonymous egg donor and were born just minutes apart. The official then shocked the couple by letting them know that only Aiden was eligible for American citizenship since he was conceived via Andrew’s sperm. To make matters worse, the official told the couple that Aiden could only receive citizenship if he took a DNA test.
Now the couple is a part of a lawsuit against the U.S. government, stating that both children are entitled to citizenship since the Supreme Court has established clear protections for same-sex couples and their children against any sort of discrimination. The law says that any child born abroad with one American parent automatically becomes an American citizen at birth, meaning that both Ethan and Aiden should, by rights, be U.S. citizens. In fact, federal law requires that children born abroad to a married, binational opposite-sex couple receive citizenship if it is requested by the parents. Yet apparently, the same cannot be said for same-sex couples. Hopefully, this case will ensure that parents are given the same rights and equal treatment, regardless of sexual orientation.