Family sues after baby born to gay couple denied US citizenship while twin's is granted

A gay couple with 1-year-old twin sons has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. State Department after one of their boys received U.S. citizenship and the other was denied. 

Ethan and Aiden Dvash-Banks are the children of Elad Dvash-Banks, an Israeli national, and Andrew Dvash-Banks, an American citizen. Biologically, Ethan is the child of Elad and Aiden is Andrew’s child. They had the twins through surrogacy.

Elad and Andrew married legally in Canada before the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down in the U.S. The couple wasn't concerned about their children having American citizenship because of the law regarding children of American citizens born abroad.

The boys were born in Canada. By law, the children of Americans born abroad are still considered legal U.S. citizens.

However, that wasn’t the case. 

Questions and answers on the US Citizenship Test
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Questions and answers on the US Citizenship Test
How many amendments does the Constitution have?

Answer: 27

(REUTERS/Andrew Kelly)

Who makes federal laws?

Answer: Congress, Senate, House of Representatives 

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci) 

The idea of self-government is in the first three words of the Constitution. What are these words?

Answer: 'We the People'

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We elect a US Senator for how many years?

Answer: Six (at a time)

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House of Representatives has how many voting members?

Answer: 435

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the federal government. What is one power of the federal government?

Answers: To print money, to declare war, to create an army, to make treaties

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

If both the president and vice president can no longer serve, who becomes president?

Answer: Speaker of the House

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

What are two Cabinet-level positions?

Answers: Vice President, Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of Commerce, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Education, Secretary of Energy, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Secretary of Homeland Security, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of Labor, Secretary of State, Secretary of Transportation, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Attorney General

(Photo credit should read ZACH GIBSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?

Answer: Thomas Jefferson

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When was the Constitution written?

Answer: 1787

(Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)


“We decided we are ready with our kids to move to the U.S,” Elad Dvash-Banks said. “We went to the U.S. consulate in Toronto with all the paperwork, everything ready for our certificate of birth abroad. Then the lady at the window, she asked, ‘Do you know who these kids are genetically related to?’”

The fathers were taken aback by the question. Andrew and Elad were forced to submit DNA tests and other documentation of their biological relationships to their boys, though no such requirement exists for the children of married U.S. citizens.

The U.S. government has now denied Ethan is a U.S. citizen because Elad, his biological father, was born in Israel.

An LGBTQ immigrant rights lawyer filed the suit Monday on behalf of the family, arguing that the U.S. is discriminating against the couple by denying their child citizenship at birth.

“He should be treated as any other child born to a U.S. citizen like his twin brother, like any other child born to a U.S. citizen abroad,” Andrew Dvash-Banks said. “It was just an awful, awful moment for both of us, for our whole family.”

The couple is now living in Los Angeles. Ethan came to the U.S. on a tourist visa, which expired last month. His dads have now applied for a green card for the toddler.

“It’s really important for us that our kids can fulfill our full potential,” Elad Dvash-Banks said. “That’s even more sensitive when one twin is entitled to something and the other one isn’t.”

The State Department said it does not comment on pending litigation but, according to their website, “a child born abroad must be biologically related to a U.S. citizen parent” to acquire U.S. citizenship at birth."


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