A federal judge in California ruled Thursday that a twin son of a gay married couple has been an American citizen since birth, handing a defeat to the US government, which had only granted the status to his brother. The State Department was wrong to deny citizenship to 2-year-old Ethan Dvash-Banks because US law doesn't require a child to show a biological relationship with their parents if their parents were married at the time of their birth, District Judge John Walter found. A lawsuit filed by the boys' parents, Andrew and Elad Dvash-Banks, sought the same rights for Ethan that his brother, Aiden, has as a citizen, per the AP. Each boy was conceived with donor eggs, born in 2016 to a surrogate mother. The feds only granted citizenship to Aiden, who DNA tests showed was the biological son of Andrew, a US citizen. Ethan is the biological son of Elad Dvash-Banks, an Israeli citizen.
The suit was one of two filed last year by an LGBTQ immigrant rights group that said the State Department is discriminating against same-sex binational couples by denying their children citizenship at birth. The State Department had previously pointed to guidance on its website that said there must be a biological connection to a US citizen to become a citizen at birth. "This family was shocked and appalled and angry when they were told their family wasn't legal," says Aaron Morris, executive director of Immigration Equality. "They wanted their twin boys to be treated exactly the same." Morris said the government wrongly applied a policy for children born out of wedlock to married same-sex couples; Walter agreed. "This is justice! ... It's like a giant rock has been removed from our hearts," Andrew and Elad Dvash-Banks said in a statement. More here on the backstory of the Dvash-Banks family. (Read more US citizenship stories.)