Through a surrogate, American-born Andrew Dvash-Banks and his Israeli-born husband Elad birthed twin sons. Their sons, Aiden and Ethan, are now 16-months old. But because Ethan has his Israeli father’s DNA and Aiden has his American dad’s DNA, the U.S. government doesn’t consider Ethan a U.S. citizen. As a result, the bi-national gay couple are now suing the U.S. government over this discriminatory policy.
Mr. And Mr. Dvash-Banks — a same-sex couple living in Los Angeles, California — have filed a federal lawsuit over a governmental policy that designates birthright citizenship to children based on their blood relationship to their parents.
The men are being represented by Immigration Equality, a not-for-profit organization that provides legal advocacy for LGBT people in the immigration system. Alan C. Morris, CEO of Immigration Equality (and also the men’s lawyer), says that this U.S. rule was created so unwed fathers — not married gay parents — would have to prove their blood relationships to their kids. Morris asserts that if his parents were a different-sex couple, Ethan would be a U.S. citizen.
Andrew and Elad met 10 years ago at a party while both were enrolled as university students in Tel Aviv. Two years later, they got engaged and, in 2010, they married in Canada. (Same-sex marriage wasn’t yet legal in the U.S..)
To become fathers, each man fertilized an anonymous donor’s eggs with their own sperm. A surrogate birthed the twins in Canada in 2016 and, the fathers’ lawsuit says, both children should’ve been eligible to become U.S. citizens since both their parents were already considered as such.
Here is an Immigration Equality video explaining the bi-national gay couple’s case:
When the fathers applied for their sons’ U.S. citizenship, the U.S. consulate in Toronto required DNA tests. Afterwards, the U.S. government approved Aiden and refused Ethan, effectively tearing the family apart.
They moved to California anyway to be closer to Andrew’s family. Ethan had a temporary visa (which has since expired) and they’ve applied for his green card, a permit allowing foreign nationals to live permanently in the U.S.. However, Ethan is currently an undocumented citizen and will remain so indefinitely.