|James Derek Mize, left, and his husband, Jonathan Gregg, are both American citizens. Under a State Department policy, their daughter, who was born abroad, did not qualify for citizenship.|
Sickeningly, there seem to be few lengths the Trump?pence regime will not go to in its quest to limit the rights of LGBT Americans in order to win the cult like following of American Christofascists and evangelicals. On top of rolling back Obama era policies protecting transgender Americans and filing briefs arguing in favor of an employer's right to fire LGBT employees, the regime has now taken its attacks to the children of gays born abroad to surrogates. Singling our gay couples, the Trump/Pence regime is taking the position that such children do not qualify for U.S. citizenship even though both fathers are U.S. Citizens. Anything to please the Christofascists and make life more difficult for married same-sex couple gay Americans. While evangelicals claim to support "family values," this policy shows the lie of that claim. The true value that they and their cult leader in the White House support id hate, discrimination and the abuse of others who do not share their toxic beliefs. A piece in the New York Times looks at this insidious agenda, Here are article highlights:
James Derek Mize is an American citizen, born and raised in the United States. His husband, who was born in Britain to an American mother, is a United States citizen, too. But the couple’s infant daughter isn’t, according to the State Department.“It’s shocking,” said Mr. Mize, 38, a former lawyer who lives in Atlanta with his husband, Jonathan Gregg, a management consultant. The couple received a letter denying their daughter’s citizenship last month. “We’re both Americans; we’re married,” Mr. Mize said. “We just found it really hard to believe that we could have a child that wouldn’t be able to be in our country.”
Their case illustrates the latest complication facing some families who use assisted reproductive technology, like surrogacy and in vitro fertilization, to have children.
At issue is a State Department policy, based on immigration law, that requires a child born abroad to have a biological connection to an American parent in order to receive citizenship at birth. That is generally not a problem when couples have babies the traditional way, but can prove tricky when only one spouse is the genetic parent.
The policy has come under intense scrutiny in recent months amid lawsuits arguing that the State Department discriminates against same-sex couples and their children by failing to recognize their marriages. Under the policy, the department classifies certain children born through assisted reproductive technology as “out of wedlock,” which triggers a higher bar for citizenship, even if the parents are legally married.
In one instance, a married Israeli-American gay couple had twin sons in Canada using sperm from each of the fathers. The biological son of the American received citizenship, but his brother, the biological son of the Israeli, did not. In February, a federal judge sided with the couple, calling the State Department’s interpretation of the immigration law “strained.” The department is appealing.
The government is also fighting a similar suit from a lesbian couple in London, who did not use a surrogate. One is American and one is Italian. They took turns conceiving and carrying their two children. Only the child born to the American mother was granted citizenship. Last week, a federal judge allowed the case to proceed, calling the family’s predicament “terrible” and “outrageous.”
“Proof of the biological connection is necessary so that the born-abroad citizenship route is not susceptible to fraud by people claiming they are children of United States citizens when, in fact, they are not,” said John C. Eastman, a senior fellow at the Claremont Institute, a conservative think tank in California.
The interpretation has led the State Department to regard births from assisted reproductive technology as “out of wedlock,” if the source of the sperm and the egg do not match married parents. Such a designation comes with extra requirements for transmitting citizenship, including showing that a biological parent is an American citizen who has spent at least five years in the United States.
[T]wo men in a marriage don’t have that option. “A same-sex male couple cannot conceive a child where both of them are a parent under this definition,” Professor Titshaw said.
Relatively few families go abroad to have children through assisted reproductive technology, but there can be financial or personal reasons for doing so.
Mr. Mize and Mr. Gregg, who met at a swim team practice in New York in 2014 and married the next year, worked with a close friend, who is British, to serve as their surrogate. Their daughter, Simone, was born at a British hospital last year.
Mr. Gregg, who had lived in Britain for most of his life before moving to the United States to be with Mr. Mize, did not have enough years in America, according to a letter from the United States embassy in London. “It’s a psychological trauma,” Mr. Mize said.
“When we went to the embassy and they said, ‘You’re not a family, you’re not married and, Derek, you’re not her father,” he recalled, “it was just like a flood of every emotion I’ve ever had since I was first called a faggot came rushing into my body.”
In court filings, the State Department said that officers are expected to carefully investigate all assisted reproductive technology cases, “irrespective of the sex or sexual orientation of the legal parents.” And there have been cases where different-sex parents were asked for biological evidence, lawyers in the field said.
But in practice, advocates say the policy has a particular impact on same-sex couples.
“The State Department is effectively saying our marriage doesn’t count,” said Adiel Kiviti, 40, another father who said that his child’s citizenship was recently called into question. “If you aren’t going to afford us the benefits of a married couple, what’s the point of giving us the right to marry?”
Adiel and his husband, Roee Kiviti, were born in Israel and later naturalized, they said. The men, whose interview with The Daily Beast drew renewed attention to the policy last week, have two children, each born with the help of a surrogate in Canada.
“Where are they going to deport our child to?” said Roee, who works as a television journalist. His husband runs a media production business in Washington. “We live in America.”
Mr. Mize, whose daughter is now 11 months old and learning to walk, feels a similar stress. He said he had been traveling back and forth to Britain with Simone, who has a tourist visa. He worries about disrupting her development at such a young age, and fears what could happen if her legal status is not resolved.
“This is where our life is. This is where our jobs are,” he said. “Our daughter can’t be here, but she has no one else to care for her.”