The State Department updated its policy to recognize the U.S. citizenship
of babies born abroad to same-sex married couples, regardless of whether an American parent is biologically related, in a victory for LGBTQ rights
Previously, the United States did not recognize citizenship at birth for the children
of married couples living abroad if the child was not genetically or biologically related to an American citizen in the couple.
Children born abroad to same-sex or heterosexual couples through in vitro fertilization, surrogacy, or other reproductive technology will be recognized as U.S. citizens at birth if at least one of the parents is American, according to the new policy.
The State Department said in a statement Tuesday that its revised interpretation of U.S. immigration
law “takes into account the realities of modern families” as well as advances in assisted reproductive technology, and that it will allow more Americans to pass citizenship to their children born abroad.
However, if the baby is not genetically or gestationally related to the American parent, the US will continue to refuse to recognize same-sex parents abroad who are not married as citizens at birth.
BREAKING: After decades, the @StateDept has changed a policy that prevented children of same-sex married couples from being recognized as U.S. citizens at birth. We are proud to have contributed to this historic change on behalf of LGBTQ families. pic.twitter.com/dPtULh8PEV— Immigration Equality (@IEquality) May 18, 2021
For years, LGBTQ rights activists have argued that U.S. immigration law discriminated against same-sex couples by requiring proof that a baby born abroad to married couples was biologically related to an American parent.
Many same-sex parents have had to go to court to have their children's citizenship recognized in the United States.
“No family should have to go through the anguish, stress, and indignity we did,” Derek Mize and Jonathan Gregg said in a statement. Last year, a federal judge ruled in their favor after Mize and Gregg, a married gay couple and both U.S. citizens, fought a legal battle for the citizenship of their daughter, who was born to a surrogate in Britain.
“It was deeply traumatizing to have our own government refuse to recognize our child as a U.S. citizen because we are a gay couple,” they said, adding that they were “humbled that our fight, as well as those of other families, was able to play a role in bringing about this change.”
We at @LambdaLegal are proud to have represented the Kiviti and Mize-Gregg families in the fight for the recognition of US citizenship at the birth of their children https://t.co/NkAq6zjGWc— Omar GP (@omargp) May 18, 2021