The State Department Is Dead Set on Stripping a Gay Couple's Son of American Citizenship

Elad Dvash-Banks, left, and his husband Andrew with their twin sons Ethan, center right, and Aiden in January 2018.
Photo: Jae C. Hong/AP

The State Department appealed a February decision by a federal judge that a gay couple’s twin sons did not need to both be biological children of the American parent to be granted birthright citizenship, the Daily Beast reported. The appeal come years after the department attempted to deny citizenship to one of Andrew and Elad Dvash-Banks’ sons because he is the biological son of Elad, who is not a U.S. citizen.

The twin boys, Aiden and Ethan, were born in Toronto in September 2016. Despite U.S. law conferring American citizenship to children of mixed-status parents, the department required the Dvash-Banks family to complete a DNA test to establish that both twins were the biological sons of Andrew, an American citizen and the biological father of Aiden.

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“Once again, the State Department is refusing to recognize Andrew and Elad’s rights as a married couple. The government’s decision to try to strip Ethan of his citizenship is unconstitutional, discriminatory, and morally reprehensible,” Aaron C. Morris, executive director of Immigration Equality, a nonprofit for LGBTQ people dealing with the immigration system, said Monday.

In the case decided in February, Morris—who is also the couple’s attorney—argued that requiring DNA testing for children of same-sex binational couples was creating a double standard for children of gay couples compared to their straight counterparts. At the time, U.S. District Judge John F. Walter dismissed the state department’s effort to enforce the biological testing, calling the move a “strained interpretation” of the country’s immigration laws.

Morris emphasized to the Daily Beast that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, where the department filed the appeal, already established in 2005 that non-biological children of a married U.S. citizen qualify for citizenship.

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Samantha Grasso

Splinter Staff Writer, Texan