LOS ANGELES – A twin son of a gay married couple has been an American citizen since birth, a federal judge has ruled, 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 Thursday.
A lawsuit filed by the 2-year-old boys' parents, Andrew and Elad Dvash-Banks, sought the same rights for Ethan that his brother, Aiden, has as a citizen.
Born by the same surrogate mother minutes apart, the boys were conceived with donor eggs but each with the sperm of a different father. 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, an Israeli citizen.
The lawsuit 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 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.
“We are aware of the court's Feb. 21 ruling. We are reviewing the ruling in coordination with Department of Justice,” the State Department said in a brief statement to The Associated Press.
Aaron Morris, executive director of Immigration Equality, said the government wrongly applied a policy for children born out of wedlock to married same-sex couples.