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Same-sex discrimination at the border despite citizenship

On Behalf of | May 30, 2019 | Same-Sex Couples & Divorce |

How can the daughter of two American citizens be denied citizenship in the United States?

Easily. All it takes is for the parents to be a married same-sex couple, one born in America and one born in Britain to an American mother. Because their child was conceived using the British-born father’s sperm through a surrogate abroad, their child is technically an illegal alien. And the current federal administration is determined to see that their daughter remains that way.

The State Department is enforcing an immigration policy that is decades behind social and medical advances — especially where same-sex couples are involved. Essentially, in certain cases, the children are considered to be conceived “out-of-wedlock” (even though the parents are married). Since they lack a biological connection to an American-born parent, they don’t qualify for American citizenship.

This absurd logic isn’t just being applied randomly. It’s specifically affecting families with same-sex parents in a disproportionate fashion. In another instance, married fathers — one from America and one from Israel — sired fraternal twins using a Canadian surrogate. The State Department demanded genetic testing to know whether either of the twins was related to the American father. One was, one wasn’t — so the State Department denied one twin citizenship and granted it to the other.

Lesbian couples are also being affected. For example, an American and Italian same-sex couple met and married in London where they were living at the time. They each gave birth to one of their children. The State Department will only grant citizenship to the biological child of the American woman.

Federal judges have called the State Department’s logic “strained” and the situations faced by these same-sex families “outrageous” and “terrible,” but the State Department is pressing on, appealing when it loses in court and leaving these families in limbo.

While many people are calling for an overhaul of the 1990s legislation that doesn’t reflect the rights of same-sex couples today, the State Department’s response has been virtually nonexistent. All it will say is that the policy applies to everyone alike — which ignores the reality of family connections crafted in same-sex marriages and the gains made in equal rights.

If you have a question about your rights as a same-sex couple with children, talk to an experienced family law attorney today.


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