Gay couple files lawsuit after one of their twins is denied US citizenship
A gay couple filed a lawsuit this week after one of their twins was denied US citizenship.
The twins, Ethan and Aiden Dvash-Banks were born to the same surrogate mother using sperm from each of their dads.
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.
But their son Ethan has become a plaintiff in the lawsuit filed on Monday which seeks for him to have the same citizenship rights as his brother.
“What we’re trying to do is pursue justice for Ethan,” said Elad: “And correct a wrong that the State Department is continuing to pursue that might affect other couples.”
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the couple by an LGBT+ immigrant rights group.
It alleges that the couple and their sons are being discriminated against by the State Department.
The cases were filed in Los Angeles and Washington by Immigration Equality.
While the State Department does not comment on individual cases, a 10news source allegedly pointed to guidance about biological connections required for US citizenship.
The couple is 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.
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 back in 2016 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 either, 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 was given the option of either sponsoring his son as his “step-son” for a green card, or attempting to adopt him, despite already being on his birth certificate as the boy’s father.
But the lawsuit filed this week hopes to change the situation for the couple and their twins.
He previously 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.”
The couple previously went public with their legal battle on CBS News to raise awareness of the discrimination of this law.
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 last year.