A gay couple had twins but only one of the babies is a US citizen
The last thing gay couple Andrew and Elad Dvash-Banks expected their twin boys to be fighting over was US citizenship.
But thanks to United States immigration law, the couple are now embroiled in a legal battle to get US passports for both of their one-year-olds, Aidan and Ethan.
It boils down to the legal issues relating to same sex couples and surrogacy.
Andrew, who has dual Canadian-American citizenship and Israeli-born Elad got married in Canada in 2011, and decided they both wanted a child genetically related to them.
In order to do so, they sought the help of a fertility clinic to have children.
With the help of a type of science called assisted reproductive technology (ART), the couple used an anonymous egg donor, a gestational surrogate and both of their sperm to create their twin boys.
They were born last year and the Canadian authorities recognised both dads as legal parents, naming both of them on the twins’ birth certificates.
But problems arose when the couple decided to move from Toronto to the US, as the continent’s immigration code requires a DNA match to a US citizen in order to gain citizenship.
Both fathers’ names are on the birth certificates but according to the State Department: “if the child does not have a biological connection to a US citizen parent, the child will not be a US citizen at birth.”
They were told to submit a DNA sample to determine which, if any, of their twins could be granted citizenship.
The $900 test only proved what they already knew – that one son was genetically related to Andrew, while the other was related to Elad.
They did not know about the law when they decided to have their boys and moving forward will not be easy.
Andrew can either sponsor his son as his “step-son” for a green card, or attempt to adopt him, despite already being on his birth certificate as the boy’s father.
He explained that the situation is causing him heartbreak as he cannot imagine how he will explain the situation when the boys get older.
Andrew said: “I just can’t stop thinking about how I’m going to explain to him when he’s older that he is different than his twin brother.
“His twin brother is American but he’s a green card holder.”
He added that he was disappointed that his family was still being discriminated against in 2017.
“It’s 2017 now. There’s so many different types of families. Look at us. In the LGBT community, there’s so many different types of families and I really feel excluded in a way because of this law,” he said.
“I would love the opportunity to have this law changed so the government will recognize him as my son as it should be.”
They went public with their legal battle on CBS News to raise awareness of the discrimination of this law.
The couple is seeking a law firm to take on their case pro-bono.
Andrew Dvash-Banks posted on Facebook prior to his TV appearances on several US TV channels, with a photo of the couple holding their sons after the birth.
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He wrote: “Many of you don’t know, but my family and I are suffering through a very difficult immigration situation with one of our sons.
“We had been private regarding this matter up until this point, but are coming public with our legal battle to raise awareness of the discrimination of this law, and seek a law firm to take on our case pro-bono.
“I hope this news exposure will help our cause.”
“My son without US citizenship is legally considered my step-son…insane! I’m on his birth certificate! We hope to challenge this unfair law so that both my twin boys will be legally recognized as my children and be US citizens.”
Support for the couple’s battle has grown since they appeared on television.