On February 22, 2019, a Federal Judge ruled that Ethan Dvash-Banks has been a U.S. citizen since birth. However, the U.S. State Department is appealing that decision, insisting a married U.S. citizen must have a biological connection to their child in order to pass on birthright citizenship. Nowhere in the law does it say a married U.S. citizen must be biologically related to their child to pass on their citizenship. It’s discrimination—pure and simple—and Immigration Equality will continue to fight on behalf of LGBTQ families until this policy is eliminated.
Background on the cases
In January, 2018, Immigration Equality filed two lawsuits against the U.S. State Department for refusing to recognize the valid marriages of same-sex bi-national couples and disenfranchising their children by denying their rightful citizenship at birth.
“The State Department is refusing to acknowledge the citizenship of children whose parents are same-sex married couples. This policy is not only illegal, it is unconstitutional. This action by the State Department disenfranchises children born to bi-national same-sex parents and places an undue burden on their families.” — Aaron C. Morris, Immigration Equality’s Executive Director
Immigration Equality is representing two plaintiff families whose children are being wrongly denied recognition of their status as a U.S. citizen at birth. While Ethan Dvash-Banks is now recognized as a U.S. citizen since birth, Immigration Equality continues to fight on behalf of the Zaccari-Blixt family and all other LGBTQ families in their position.
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Meet Our Plaintiffs
Allison Blixt and her wife Stefania Zaccari have two happy, healthy sons. Stefania, an Italian citizen, gave birth to their son Lucas, and Allison, an American citizen, gave birth to their son Massi. Since the couple lives in London, they had to apply for their sons’ citizenship for children born abroad. However, when the family went to register the children as U.S. citizens, the State Department treated the boys as if they were born out of wedlock. Then, they refused to recognize that Lucas was a citizen. For more information, click here.
Immigration Equality plaintiffs Andrew (a U.S. citizen) and Elad (an Israeli citizen), were unable to live in the U.S. because of the Defense of Marriage Act, so they married and created a home in Canada. There, they had twin sons through surrogacy. When they sought recognition of the twins’ U.S. citizenship, Andrew and Elad were forced to submit DNA tests and other documentation of their biological relationships to their boys, even though no such requirement exists for the children of a married U.S. citizen. Because one son was conceived with the sperm of one father and the other son with the sperm of the other father, one of these fraternal twins is being treated by the U.S. government as a U.S. citizen while the other was forced to enter the U.S. on a tourist visa! For more information, click here.
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