Twin granted cit­i­zen­ship, too

Fed­eral judge rules for gay U.s.-is­raeli par­ents of tod­dler

Las Vegas Review-Journal - - NATION - By Christo­pher We­ber The As­so­ci­ated Press

LOS AN­GE­LES — A fed­eral judge in Cal­i­for­nia ruled Thurs­day that a twin son of a gay mar­ried cou­ple has been an Amer­i­can cit­i­zen since birth, hand­ing a de­feat to the U.S. govern­ment, which had only granted the sta­tus to his brother.

The State De­part­ment was wrong to deny cit­i­zen­ship to 2-year-old Ethan Dvash-banks be­cause U.S. law does not re­quire a child to show a bi­o­log­i­cal re­la­tion­ship with their par­ents if their par­ents were mar­ried at the time of their birth, Dis­trict Judge John F. Wal­ter found.

A law­suit filed by the boys’ par­ents, An­drew and Elad Dvash-banks, sought the same rights for Ethan that his brother, Aiden, has as a cit­i­zen.

Each boy was con­ceived with donor eggs and the sperm from a dif­fer­ent fa­ther — one an Amer­i­can, the other an Is­raeli cit­i­zen — but born by the same sur­ro­gate mother min­utes apart.

The govern­ment had only granted cit­i­zen­ship to Aiden, who DNA tests showed was the bi­o­log­i­cal son of An­drew, a U.S. cit­i­zen. Ethan was con­ceived from the sperm of Elad Dvash-banks, an Is­raeli cit­i­zen.

The suit was one of two filed last year by an LGBTQ im­mi­grant rights group that said the State De­part­ment is dis­crim­i­nat­ing against same-sex bi­na­tional cou­ples by deny­ing their chil­dren cit­i­zen­ship at birth. The cases filed in Los An­ge­les and Washington by Im­mi­gra­tion Equal­ity said the chil­dren of a U.S. cit­i­zen who mar­ries abroad are en­ti­tled to U.S. cit­i­zen­ship at birth no mat­ter where they are born, even if the other par­ent is a for­eigner. Only the Los An­ge­les case was de­cided Thurs­day.

The State De­part­ment did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to an email seek­ing com­ment on the rul­ing. Pre­vi­ously the de­part­ment pointed to guid­ance on its web­site that said there must be a bi­o­log­i­cal con­nec­tion to a U.S. cit­i­zen to be­come a cit­i­zen at birth.

“This fam­ily was shocked and ap­palled and an­gry when they were told their fam­ily wasn’t le­gal,” said Aaron Morris, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of Im­mi­gra­tion Equal­ity. “They wanted their twin boys to be treated ex­actly the same.”

Morris said the govern­ment wrongly ap­plied a pol­icy for chil­dren born out of wed­lock to mar­ried same-sex cou­ples.

Wal­ter agreed, writ­ing that the State De­part­ment statute does not con­tain lan­guage “re­quir­ing a ‘blood re­la­tion­ship be­tween the per­son and the fa­ther’ in or­der for cit­i­zen­ship to be ac­quired at birth.”

“This is jus­tice! We are hope­ful that no other fam­ily will ever have to go through this again. It’s like a gi­ant rock has been re­moved from our hearts,” An­drew and Elad DvashBanks said in a state­ment pro­vided by Im­mi­gra­tion Equal­ity.

Jae C. Hong The As­so­ci­ated Press file

Elad Dvash-banks, left, and his part­ner, An­drew, with their twin sons, Ethan, cen­ter right, and Aiden in their Los An­ge­les apart­ment in Jan­uary 2018. A fed­eral judge in Cal­i­for­nia has ruled that a twin son of the gay cou­ple has been an Amer­i­can cit­i­zen since birth, hand­ing a de­feat to the U.S. govern­ment, which had only granted the sta­tus to his brother.

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