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In case it wasn’t clear where the Trump administration stands on LGBTQ rights and immigration: A gay couple says one of their twins was refused citizenship—and now the couple is suing the State Department.
Andrew and Elad Dvash-Banks are a married gay couple living in Los Angeles with their twins Aiden and Ethan. Andrew is a U.S. citizen and Elad is non-citizen from Isreal. The two children are born from the same surrogate mother while the couple was living in Canada, and under U.S. law, the biological children of U.S. citizens abroad can still become American citizens. However, the State Department is picking apart technicalities—and many argue being discriminatory against the gay couple.
Aiden has Andrew’s DNA, whereas Ethan has Elad’s. This means Aiden is biologically related to an American citizen and he has been approved for U.S. citizenship. Since Ethan is technically the biological child of a non-U.S. citizen, he has been denied citizenship.
Problems first began after the two fathers visited Toronto’s American Consulate to apply for citizenship. The State Department demanded DNA tests to prove which child was born from which father. This led to Ethan being denied from the U.S., as according to his denial letter, immigrating citizens must have a “blood relationship between a child and the U.S. citizen parent.”
Both men have since sued. That’s because for Andrew and Elad, Ethan and Aiden are brothers, and the couple believes the literal biological connection championed by the State Department misses the point. Rather, the two believe that the government is treating their children differently based on the family’s nontraditional status as an LGBTQ couple. A similar suit was recently filed from a lesbian couple against the State Department, too.
“The fact that the State Department has taken it upon themselves to make it their business is wrong,” Andrew Dvash-Banks told the L.A. Times.
Andrew and Elad Dvash-Banks argue in their lawsuit that the State Department is using policies under the Immigration and Nationality Act that specifically relate to families that aren’t married. As the Dvash-Banks’ were wedded in Canada, the children are theirs by marriage, which means citizenship should transfer to them through Andrew. But it may take a lawsuit for the State Department to give in and keep the family together.
“We’re going to do whatever it takes to help Ethan to get what is rightfully his,” Elad Dvash-Banks said to the Times. “I know I will tell them, look at this—this is a piece of history, because we fought for you and we changed the world.”
Ana Valens is a reporter specializing in online queer communities, marginalized identities, and adult content creation. She is Daily Dot's Trans/Sex columnist. Her work has appeared at Vice, Vox, Truthout, Bitch Media, Kill Screen, Rolling Stone, and the Toast. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and spends her free time developing queer adult games.