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By Associated Press
LOS ANGELES – A California federal judge ruled Thursday that a twin son of a gay couple has been a US citizen since birth and defeated the US government, which only granted his brother status.
The US State Department had wrongfully denied citizenship to Ethan Dvash-Bank's two-year-old.
The lawsuit of the boys' parents, Andrew and Elad Dvash-Banks, demanded the same rights for Ethan, who has his brother Aiden as a citizen.
Each boy was conceived with donor eggs and sperm from another father – an American, an Israeli – but born by the same surrogate mother just minutes away.
The government had only granted Aiden citizenship, which according to DNA tests was the biological son of Andrew, a US citizen. Ethan was conceived from the seed of Elad Dvash-Banks, an Israeli citizen.
The lawsuit was one of two lawsuits filed by a LGBTQ immigration rights group last year that said the State Department is discriminating against same-sex bi-national couples by denying their children citizenship at birth. The cases filed by Los Angeles and Washington by Immigration Equality state that the children of a US citizen remarrying abroad are entitled to US citizenship at birth, regardless of where they were born, even if the other parent a foreigner is. Only the case in Los Angeles was decided on Thursday.
The US Department of State did not respond immediately to an e-mail in which it wanted to comment on the verdict. Earlier, the department posted evidence on its website stating that there must be a biological link for an American citizen to become a citizen at birth.
Aaron Morris, Executive Director of Immigration Equality, said the State Department had been wrong to apply a directive for illegitimate children to married same-sex couples.
The judge agreed that the Foreign Ministry's statute does not include a language that requires "a blood relationship between the person and the father" in order for citizenship to be acquired at birth.
We hope no other family ever has to go through this again, it's as if a huge stone has been removed from our hearts, "Andrew and Elad Dvash-Banks said in a statement their lawyer told them Provided.
Andrew Dvash-Banks studied in Israel when he met his future husband Elad, an Israeli citizen. Since they could not marry in the US or Israel at the time, they moved to Canada where they got married in 2010. The children were born in September 2016 by a deputy son.
Everything seemed to be in order until the couple, a few months later, brought their crippled children to the American Consulate in Toronto to apply for citizenship, and the woman at the counter began to ask questioning questions that found her shocking and humiliating.
The consular officer told them that she was demanding a DNA test at discretion to show who each boy's father was, and without those tests, neither of them would be granted citizenship. The men knew that Andrew was Aiden's biological father and Elad Ethans, but they had kept it secret and had no intention of telling anyone.
After receiving DNA test results showing who had fathered each boy, the couple received a large and small US envelope on March 2nd. The big one contained Aiden's passport. The other was a letter in which he told Andrew that Ethan's application had been rejected.
The family has since moved to Los Angeles to be closer to the family of Andrew Dvash-Banks.
The other case concerns two women, one from the US and one from Italy, who met in New York, married in London and each gave birth to a son. The US Department of State did not recognize the couple's marriage, the complaint said, and only granted citizenship to the boy whose birth mother was born and raised in the United States.