Couple sues Trump admin for not recognizing daughter as US citizen

Screengrab CNN

Two men opted to have a baby through a surrogate mother in another country and the parents are suing the Trump administration for not recognizing that child as a U.S. citizen.

This being the latest legal wrangling over the complications of same-sex marriage. Or is it?

Adiel and Roee Kiviti, a gay couple from Israel who are naturalized U.S. citizens, are taking on the State Department to validate their daughter’s U.S. citizenship, the Daily Beast reported.

Their problem began with an official at the U.S. passport office in Los Angeles raised questions about their infant daughter citizenship.

“We sort of naively thought that this is just a big mistake—that once the government realized, perhaps through media, that this was a mistake, it would be sort of rectified, clarified,” Roee told The Daily Beast. “Since then, we’ve started hearing from others who are in similar situations.”

The online news source reported that the State Department’s refusal to recognize the child as a U.S. citizen was “the result of a government policy that considers her, as a child born abroad to same-sex parents via assisted reproductive technology, as born ‘out of wedlock.'”

Complicating matters, the men previously had a son born in Canada with the help of an egg donor and a gestational surrogate and that child obtained a U.S. passport.

“The scenario that we are now in doesn’t allow us, in the long run, to live in the U.S. as a family,” Adiel stated. “We’re talking about two parents who are American citizens, an older brother who is an American citizen and a newborn who is not an American citizen. If this is not going to get resolved, we have to leave the United States.”

The lawsuit was filed by the LGBTQ-focused legal nonprofit Immigration Equality, Lambda Legal, and the firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.

The driving factor in the case is a change in the State Department’s interpretation of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which determines the standard for citizenship eligibility.

A change that took place during the Obama administration.

More from the Daily Beast:

Beginning in 2014, the State Department began interpreting the act to mean that a child born abroad “must be biologically related to a U.S. citizen parent,” according to the State Department’s website.

Furthermore, children born abroad via assisted reproductive technology like gestational surrogacy or sperm donation are considered to have been born “out of wedlock,” even if their parents—like the Kivitis—are legally married U.S. citizens.


As noted in the article, the hurdles for birthright citizenship eligibility are higher for children born out of wedlock.

Among the things deemed necessary are strict parental residency requirements.

And in the case of the gay couple, Adiel has lived in the United States for four years and ten months, which falls just short of the required five years — he arrived in the U.S. in May 2015.

Of course, it’s not the failure to meet guidelines that apply to all that’s at play here.

In the eyes of many in the LGBTQ community, and more importantly, their allies in the media allies, it’s because the child has two gay dads.

“This is a fight for marriage equality; this is a fight for the fundamental right to citizenship,” said Aaron Morris, executive director of Immigration Equality. “And denying a little girl citizenship just because she happens to have two gay dads is intolerable.”

All of which must mean that Barack Obama was no friend to the gay community, no?


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