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Judge rules boy born to American, Israeli fathers is US citizen

Judge rules boy born to American, Israeli fathers is US citizen

SATURDAY, February 23, 2019

A twin boy born to a gay couple -- with one Israeli and one American father -- should have been granted birthright US citizenship, a federal judge in California has ruled.

The US State Department denied two-year-old Ethan Dvash-Banks citizenship because he was biologically related to his Israeli father Elad Dvash-Banks -- but not his American father, Andrew Dvash-Banks.

Ethan and his twin brother Aiden were born in Canada in 2016 to a surrogate mother who carried two embryos -- with their fathers providing sperm for one embryo each.

As a result, only Aiden was granted citizenship when the family moved to the US months after the twins were born.

But the judge ruled Thursday that as a child born to a married US citizen parent, Ethan is entitled to birthright citizenship like his brother.

"This is a huge victory for Ethan Dvash-Banks and his family," Aaron C. Morris, executive director of Immigration Equality, an advocacy group that worked on the case, said Friday.

"Ethan will no longer be considered the undocumented twin of his brother Aiden."

The State Department had argued it was following policy which states that a child born abroad must be biologically related to an American parent to become a citizen.

"While this ruling did not explicitly strike down the State Department's policy, it is a strong indication that the Department should do so on its own, Morris said. "We will continue to fight until all same-sex couples have their relationships fully recognized."

The parents expressed relief at the decision on Friday, saying the family could finally go on with a normal life.

"For two years, this is something that weighed on us every single day," Andrew Dvash-Banks said. "Not knowing whether Ethan would be allowed to stay in the US is something we went to bed with every night.

"Now, our family is whole and safe."