Yesterday, the U.S. State Department appealed a Ninth Circuit court decision granting birthright citizenship to Ethan Dvash-Banks, the child of a same-sex bi-national couple living in Los Angeles, California. The Trump administration is saying that a child born to an American father is not in fact American and shouldn’t be allowed on U.S. soil. If the administration gets its way, the Dvash-Banks family will effectively be torn apart.
And what’s worse, this isn’t the only same-sex family the Trump administration is trying to separate.
As we reported last January, the child’s parents, American-born Andrew and Israeli-born Elad, met over a decade ago at a party while attending a university in Tel Aviv, Israel. In 2010, the two men married in Canada since same-sex marriage wasn’t legal yet in the U.S.
In 2016, the men birthed twin sons through an anonymous surrogate. Their son Aiden has his American dad’s DNA and their son Ethan has his Israeli father’s DNA. When the dads applied for their children to receive U.S. citizenship at the U.S. consulate in Toronto, the consulate required DNA tests and subsequently denied Ethan citizenship.
According to Immigration Equality, the LGBTQ legal organization representing the men in court, the law requiring blood-tests was originally created so that unwed fathers — not married gay parents — would have to prove their blood relationships to their kids. Alan C. Morris, CEO of Immigration Equality, says that if Ethan’s parents were a different-sex couple, Ethan would be automatically considered a U.S. citizen.
“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,” Morris said. “But the converse is also true and every same-sex couple will be asked that.”
The parents ended up getting their son a temporary visa and have since applied for his green card so that he can live in the U.S. permanently. But the visa has since expired and right now Ethan is living in the U.S. indefinitely as an undocumented citizen.
Here’s a video explaining the family’s case:
In Februrary 2019, California’s ninth federal district court recognized Ethan as a U.S. citizen. But yesterday, the U.S. State Department appealed that decision, leaving the family’s future in the hands of the judicial system.
In a statement, Immigration Equality said, “The government refuses to recognize the validity of Andrew and Elad Dvash-Banks’ marriage, and continues to defend its discriminatory policy.”
Morris added, “The government’s decision to try to strip Ethan of his citizenship is unconstitutional, discriminatory, and morally reprehensible. This is settled law in the Ninth Circuit, which has already established that citizenship may pass from a married parent to a child regardless of whether or not they have a biological relationship.”
Sadly, this isn’t the only case of the Trump administration trying to rip apart a same-sex family. Allison Blixt and Stefania Zaccari are another same-sex bi-national married couple whose child, Lucas Zaccari-Blixt, was denied U.S. citizenship because his Italian-born mother gave birth to him in London.
There’s no reason to continue this discriminatory policy other than to harass same-sex families with foreign-born partners. Here’s hoping Trump loses in court.