State Department denies citizenship to one of this same-sex couple’s twin sons

  • metta

    Posts: 44480

    Jan 28, 2018 5:08 AM GMT
    State Department denies citizenship to one of this same-sex couple’s twin sons

    https://www.queerty.com/state-department-denies-citizenship-one-sex-couples-twin-sons-20180127
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 28, 2018 1:44 PM GMT
    A similar circumstance happened to my mother and her parents in 1948 coming from the UK via Canada to the US. It's an old law. My Mom got a green card eventually. Democrats should have changed the law or issued an executive order when they controlled the government. Immigration Reform died when Obama was President because no one trusted him to comply with any immigration law that Congress would have passed since he kept bypassing existing law as in the case of "Dreamers".
  • Talleanmusl

    Posts: 8

    Jan 28, 2018 3:38 PM GMT
    Well that is then and this is now. It's the law.
  • bro4bro

    Posts: 2113

    Jan 28, 2018 6:10 PM GMT
    Having been carried by the same surrogate mother at the same time does not make them "twins". They have completely different biological parents. They don't look anything alike. And as the article clearly states, the "twin" who was denied citizenship has no biological connection to any American citizen.

    Neither child was born in the US. The surrogate mother, the egg donor, and the biological father of the child in question are not US citizens. The father of the other child, who is a US citizen, apparently hasn't gone through any proceedings to adopt the child in question, so legally he's simply a step-child by marriage.

    This is a very unique situation that certainly wasn't foreseen when immigration laws were written. Seriously, these guys couldn't have thought up a more complicated situation if they tried.

    I hope it gets straightened out soon. But calling these two children "twins" is misleading, and serves only to create a juicy headline.
  • Apparition

    Posts: 4054

    Jan 28, 2018 10:38 PM GMT
    bro4bro said

    Seriously, these guys couldn't have thought up a more complicated situation if they tried.



    ...the husband of the egg donor could simultaneously be claiming custody....lol.


    but really why on earth would they not have had the kid in the US given the ridiculous state of affairs there.

  • mwolverine

    Posts: 5728

    Jan 28, 2018 11:14 PM GMT
    No one said "identical twins".
    Were they just "wombmates" for 9 months?

    Yes, there's a legal angle about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
    But would that question even arise were this a heterosexual couple?

    Gay couple sues after 1 twin's US citizenship denied
    https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5076739,00.html

    Israeli and American married gay couple father twins Ethan and Aiden Dvash-Banks, but while Aiden–whose biological father Andrew is American–received citizenship, Ethan–whose biological father is Elad, an Israeli–was denied; ' These are twins, how can you differentiate between them?'

    Ethan and Aiden Dvash-Banks are toddler twins who share almost everything: the same toys, the same nursery, the same clothes and the same parents. Everything but a toothbrush and US citizenship.

    To remedy what their parents, a gay married couple, view as an injustice, Ethan Dvash-Banks became a plaintiff at the tender age of 16 months in a federal lawsuit against the US State Department that seeks the same rights his brother has as an American citizen.

    Each boy was conceived with donor eggs and the sperm from a different father—one an American, the other an Israeli citizen—but born by the same surrogate mother minutes apart.

    "What we're trying to do is pursue justice for Ethan," said Elad Dvash-Banks, Ethan's biological dad, "and correct a wrong that the State Department is continuing to pursue that might affect other couples."

    The lawsuit was one of two filed Monday 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 in Los Angeles and Washington by Immigration Equality said the children of a US citizen who marries abroad are entitled to US citizenship at birth no matter where they are born and even if the other parent is a foreigner.

    The State Department said it doesn't comment on pending litigation, but pointed to guidance on its website that says there must be a biological connection to a US citizen to become a citizen at birth.

    Aaron Morris, executive director of Immigration Equality, said the State Department is wrongly applying a policy for children born out of wedlock to married same-sex couples.

    "If a mother and father walk into a consulate and have a marriage certificate and birth certificate, they're never asked any questions about the biology of the child," said Aaron Morris, executive director of Immigration Equality. "But the converse is also true and every same-sex couple will be asked that."

    Citizenship issues frequently arise with births overseas—even for heterosexual US citizens—and particularly with the use of artificial insemination and surrogates, said immigration lawyer Ally Bolour, who is not involved in the lawsuit. The Supreme Court's rejection in 2013 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which had barred the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, opened the door to the potentially ground-breaking challenges now being brought, he said.

    "This is an absolutely fascinating, cutting edge area of law that stems from (DOMA) being overturned," Bolour said. "It was just a matter of time for this issue to be decided by the courts."

    Andrew Dvash-Banks was studying in Israel when he met his future husband, Elad, an Israeli citizen. Because they couldn't marry at the time in the US or in Israel, they moved to Canada, where they wed in 2010. The children were born by a surrogate in September 2016.

    Everything seemed fine until the couple brought their cranky infants to the American consulate in Toronto a few months later to apply for citizenship and the woman at the counter began asking probing questions they found shocking and humiliating.

    The consular official told them she had discretion to require a DNA test to show who the biological father was of each boy and without those tests neither son would get citizenship. The men knew that Andrew was Aiden's biological father and Elad was Ethan's but they had kept it a secret and hadn't planned on telling anyone.

    "I started crying," Andrew Dvash-Banks said. "These are twins, how can you differentiate between them? They were born minutes apart."

    After submitting the DNA test results that proved who fathered each boy, the couple received a large and small envelope from the US on March 2. The big one included Aiden's passport. The other was a letter notifying Andrew that Ethan's application had been denied.

    The family has since moved to Los Angeles to be closer to Andrew Dvash-Banks' family. Ethan came on a tourist visa that expired last month.

    "He doesn't have legal status," Andrew Dvash-Banks said.

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  • PennsyGuy

    Posts: 1698

    Jan 29, 2018 12:15 AM GMT
    mx5guynj said Democrats should have changed the law or issued an executive order when they controlled the government. Immigration Reform died when Obama was President because no one trusted him to comply with any immigration law that Congress would have passed since he kept bypassing existing law as in the case of "Dreamers".


    That's right, 100%.

    Democrats don't care about legal immigrants who follow the rules and the law in order to come to and stay in the USA. If they did, they would have changed the law when they and Obama controlled the government in 2009-2011. They would much rather have illegal immigrants granted amnesty because almost all of those criminals will vote Democrat. Criminals are a major component of the Democrat's base.
  • bro4bro

    Posts: 2113

    Jan 29, 2018 5:29 AM GMT
    mwolverine saidNo one said "identical twins".
    Were they just "wombmates" for 9 months?

    Yes, there's a legal angle about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
    But would that question even arise were this a heterosexual couple?


    Well, yes. That's exactly what they were.
    Since it appears the surrogate was not the egg donor, she was essentially just renting space in her body.
    Since she has no legal right to the children, how can they claim to have legal rights based on their relationship with her?
    She's not their mother; she was just their incubator.
    And yeah, I assume a hetero couple who each brought a child from a prior relationship into the country would face the same issues.
    It's not very productive to cry "discrimination" every time a gay couple doesn't get whatever they want, without considering the legal subtleties of the situation.
    And let's face it, this specific situation is one a str8 couple would never find themselves in.
    As for angels dancing on the head of a pin... have you not dealt with attorneys before?
    That's what they do.
    That's ALL they do.

    This all would have been circumvented if the American guy would simply have adopted his stepson.
    Just like a str8 guy would, if his wife brought a child in from a prior relationship and he wanted to be recognized as the child's father.
    But he didn't - I guess because he wasn't thinking ahead.
    Some lessons you learn the hard way.
  • mwolverine

    Posts: 5728

    Jan 29, 2018 6:19 AM GMT
    bro4bro> I assume a hetero couple who each brought a child from a prior relationship into the country would face the same issues.

    Ah, but these children aren't from a "prior relationship".

    And there is anti-gay discrimination at play, otherwise all couples would be required to take a DNA test.
    Consider if the husband is the American citizen... but his wife cheated on him abroad with the milkman?
    Now the child is not biologically related to the citizen father, only to the non-citizen mother.
    It boils down to an identical case (the infidelity vs in vitro & surrogate isn't relevant)... and I'm sure no one at the State Dept cares.
    No one is going to insist that the father adopt his own non-biological son or blame him for not doing so (assuming he's in the know).


    Not sure if it's the case, but let's assume that the birth certificate lists both dads as the parents.
    (Just as it would list the wife/husband, not the milkman.)
    So weren't both twins (like the milkman's son) legally born to the father who is an American citizen?
  • bro4bro

    Posts: 2113

    Jan 29, 2018 6:32 PM GMT
    I have no idea whether the birth certificates list both men as the parents of the children. If they do, then yes, it’s completely wrong to deny one child citizenship, and a clear case of discrimination. You cannot deny the man’s rights as a father if he’s identified as such on the birth certificate.

    And I agree that there is definitely some discrimination going on here. The Israeli father was presumably issued a green card because he’s married to the American. His child should then have automatically been issued a green card as well, since he’s a small child and his father has sole custody. No heterosexual couple would have been denied this.

    But citizenship is a trickier matter. The passage you highlighted above says "If a mother and father walk into a consulate and have a marriage certificate and birth certificate, they're never asked any questions about the biology of the child." That may be one attorney’s contention but I don’t believe it’s true. I hope it isn’t, for the sake of the child. Let’s look at some examples.

    If a white hetero couple walk into a consulate with a child who appears to be black or Asian, do you think no one will ask about the child’s biological parentage? (This appears to be similar to the case in question because it’s obvious at a glance that both partners can’t be the child’s biological parents – it’s not racial discrimination but simply common sense)

    If a hetero couple walk into a consulate with a birth certificate that lists only one of them as a parent, do you think no one will ask about the other biological parent? (They could have stolen the child from a parent who has legal custody, or they may have joint custody and are not allowed to take the child out of the country – it’s a common enough occurrence)

    If an American hetero couple and a Canadian hetero couple each have a child by the same surrogate mother, and she carries both embryos at the same time (which she could do without even telling both parents in advance), does that make them “twins”? Does the Canadian child automatically become an American citizen because his “twin” is one? Can one of the fathers then legally claim both children as his own, because they’re “twins”?

    It appears to me this gay couple simply didn’t go through the due diligence that a situation like this demands. They must have known it was going to be a tricky situation – otherwise they wouldn’t have tried to cover up the fact that each child had a different father. Keep in mind too that the children weren't even conceived until after same sex marriage was legal in the US - but they chose to have the children born in Canada, and then immediately decided to move to the States? Seriously, it seems they went out of their way to make things complicated and raise red flags with US Immigration.

    Once again, if the American father had simply adopted his stepson, it wouldn’t have been an issue. And what’s stopping him from doing it now? It’s been ten months since the child’s US citizenship was denied; I’d think the adoption could have already been completed, particularly given the circumstances. They must be able to find a sympathetic judge in LA. Or are they dragging this out just to grandstand and make some kind of point, to pave the way for future couples in this same, incredibly rare and bizarre situation?

    As an aside, what this couple did seems very self-indulgent to me – having “twins”, each fathered by one of them with eggs from different donors but carried by the same surrogate. It’s not something that could ever occur naturally, and would have been considered science fiction just a very few years ago. I’m sure it’ll never become the source of sibling rivalry between the boys (“My dad’s better than your dad” – yeesh!).

    Not that mine was any better, but I’m glad neither of those guys was my dad.
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    Jan 29, 2018 7:46 PM GMT
    bro4bro saidI have no idea whether the birth certificates list both men as the parents of the children. If they do, then yes, it’s completely wrong to deny one child citizenship, and a clear case of discrimination. You cannot deny the man’s rights as a father if he’s identified as such on the birth certificate.

    And I agree that there is definitely some discrimination going on here. The Israeli father was presumably issued a green card because he’s married to the American. His child should then have automatically been issued a green card as well, since he’s a small child and his father has sole custody. No heterosexual couple would have been denied this.

    But citizenship is a trickier matter. The passage you highlighted above says "If a mother and father walk into a consulate and have a marriage certificate and birth certificate, they're never asked any questions about the biology of the child." That may be one attorney’s contention but I don’t believe it’s true. I hope it isn’t, for the sake of the child. Let’s look at some examples.

    If a white hetero couple walk into a consulate with a child who appears to be black or Asian, do you think no one will ask about the child’s biological parentage? (This appears to be similar to the case in question because it’s obvious at a glance that both partners can’t be the child’s biological parents – it’s not racial discrimination but simply common sense)

    If a hetero couple walk into a consulate with a birth certificate that lists only one of them as a parent, do you think no one will ask about the other biological parent? (They could have stolen the child from a parent who has legal custody, or they may have joint custody and are not allowed to take the child out of the country – it’s a common enough occurrence)

    If an American hetero couple and a Canadian hetero couple each have a child by the same surrogate mother, and she carries both embryos at the same time (which she could do without even telling both parents in advance), does that make them “twins”? Does the Canadian child automatically become an American citizen because his “twin” is one? Can one of the fathers then legally claim both children as his own, because they’re “twins”?

    It appears to me this gay couple simply didn’t go through the due diligence that a situation like this demands. They must have known it was going to be a tricky situation – otherwise they wouldn’t have tried to cover up the fact that each child had a different father. Keep in mind too that the children weren't even conceived until after same sex marriage was legal in the US - but they chose to have the children born in Canada, and then immediately decided to move to the States? Seriously, it seems they went out of their way to make things complicated and raise red flags with US Immigration.

    Once again, if the American father had simply adopted his stepson, it wouldn’t have been an issue. And what’s stopping him from doing it now? It’s been ten months since the child’s US citizenship was denied; I’d think the adoption could have already been completed, particularly given the circumstances. They must be able to find a sympathetic judge in LA. Or are they dragging this out just to grandstand and make some kind of point, to pave the way for future couples in this same, incredibly rare and bizarre situation?

    As an aside, what this couple did seems very self-indulgent to me – having “twins”, each fathered by one of them with eggs from different donors but carried by the same surrogate. It’s not something that could ever occur naturally, and would have been considered science fiction just a very few years ago. I’m sure it’ll never become the source of sibling rivalry between the boys (“My dad’s better than your dad” – yeesh!).

    Not that mine was any better, but I’m glad neither of those guys was my dad.

    I agrree ^.

    What occurs to me, is what could they have been thinking to have the surrogate give birth in Canada instead of the USA? ? (The only good reason I can think of, is that the surrogate was not a Canadian citizen (or had a criminal records), such that she would not have been able to visit the USA. ) Generally, it is soooooooooo easy for Canadians to visit the US - no visa required - just identification. Until a few years ago, Canadians and US residents could just walk across the border, without even providing identification. (Wish that it return to the old ways.)
  • bro4bro

    Posts: 2113

    Jan 30, 2018 12:16 AM GMT
    They didn't need to bring the surrogate to the US. They lived in Toronto; they could have found a surrogate in Buffalo, two hours away. I bet there's plenty of Buffalo gals with a spare womb for rent.
  • Apparition

    Posts: 4054

    Jan 30, 2018 3:34 AM GMT
    bro4bro saidThey didn't need to bring the surrogate to the US. They lived in Toronto; they could have found a surrogate in Buffalo, two hours away. I bet there's plenty of Buffalo gals with a spare womb for rent.



    delivery charge in canada ZERO$ is the answer.
  • mwolverine

    Posts: 5728

    Jan 30, 2018 4:10 AM GMT
    bro4bro said
    if the American father had simply adopted his stepson, it wouldn’t have been an issue. And what’s stopping him from doing it now? It’s been ten months since the child’s US citizenship was denied; I’d think the adoption could have already been completed, particularly given the circumstances.

    As an aside, what this couple did seems very self-indulgent to me – having “twins”, each fathered by one of them with eggs from different donors but carried by the same surrogate. It’s not something that could ever occur naturally, and would have been considered science fiction just a very few years ago. I’m sure it’ll never become the source of sibling rivalry between the boys (“My dad’s better than your dad” – yeesh!).

    I think that's exactly what they wanted to avoid. No one was supposed to know which child was the biological son of which father.

    || The men knew that Andrew was Aiden's biological father and Elad was Ethan's but they had kept it a secret and hadn't planned on telling anyone.

    They weren't looking to be a "Brady Bunch" but the "Beavers" (or Keatons or other "Modern Family" with 2 working parents).

    Furthermore I'm sure each father saw no point in adopting the "other" child - that in itself defeats the aspiration of a nuclear family.
  • roadbikeRob

    Posts: 18263

    Jan 30, 2018 3:35 PM GMT
    Talleanmusl saidWell that is then and this is now. It's the law.
    Well this law is fundamentally flawed and it needs to be changed.
  • bro4bro

    Posts: 2113

    Jan 30, 2018 5:10 PM GMT
    mwolverine saidNo one was supposed to know which child was the biological son of which father.


    You saw the photo, right? I think it's fairly obvious.

    And what's the point of pretending? Children of non-traditional origin, whether adopted or otherwise raised by non-biological parents, should be told about their parentage as soon as they're old enough to understand. Otherwise it'll only lead to division, mistrust and resentment later on when they learn the truth.
  • mwolverine

    Posts: 5728

    Jan 31, 2018 2:26 AM GMT
    bro4bro> You saw the photo, right? I think it's fairly obvious.

    You can't see DNA. Sometimes children of the same parents resemble one more than the other.
    Sometimes they may take after a grandparent more than a parent.

    Obvious or not, the heterosexual father of the "milkman's son" doesn't have to adopt the child, right?


    b4b> what's the point of pretending? Children of non-traditional origin, whether adopted or otherwise raised by non-biological parents, should be told about their parentage as soon as they're old enough to understand. Otherwise it'll only lead to division, mistrust and resentment later on when they learn the truth.

    In general I agree, but the point here was to make the children and fathers all equal.
    With that established, in 8 or 10 years, the rest of the truth can come out.


    The particulars of this case are less important than how policy should be.
    The children of a married gay couple, regardless of how conceived, should be the children of both parents.
    One parent shouldn't have to adopt their own child just because only the other parent is the biological parent.

  • bro4bro

    Posts: 2113

    Jan 31, 2018 6:35 PM GMT
    In the case of a married woman giving birth, you're right, nobody questions whether it's the husband's biological child or the milkman's. But this is a different situation. In the heterosexual world it would more closely resemble a guy fathering a child by a woman who isn't his wife, and then choosing to bring that child into his marriage. Does his wife automatically become the child's legal mother? Or would she need to adopt the child, just as she would if it was brought in from the husband's previous marriage? I don't know the answer to this.

    To be honest, when I first read the story it didn't occur to me that both men might be listed as parents on the children's birth certificates. I view a birth certificate as a medical record first, and a legal document second. But admittedly, I don't know nothin bout birthin babies. Maybe it really is just a document to establish legal and not biological parentage. Most likely it varies from country to country.

    It's disappointing that the news article fails to mention whether both men are named as parents on the birth certificates because in my mind this is what the entire case hinges on. The "twins" concept is clearly arguable. But if both men are identified on the birth certificates as legal parents then there should really be no issue; you can consider the child to have been "adopted" by the non-biological parent at birth. And the State Department's contention about requiring a "biological connection" is bullshit; heterosexual couples adopt babies from foreign countries all the time, and they don't have to bring them in on a fucking tourist visa.
  • mwolverine

    Posts: 5728

    Feb 01, 2018 4:16 AM GMT
    Maybe more details will come out as the case progresses, and hopefully things will work out for the couple and their children.

    But yeah, now they'll have a lot more to tell the kids when that day arrives.