Federal Judge Rules Child of Gay Couple Was Citizen at Birth Just Like His Twin Brother

Los Angeles, CA (February 22, 2019) – Immigration Equality and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP celebrate yesterday’s decision by a Federal Judge in Los Angeles recognizing the birthright citizenship of Ethan Dvash-Banks, the son of U.S.-citizen Andrew Dvash-Banks and his Israeli husband Elad Dvash-Banks. Two-year-old Ethan was previously denied recognition of his citizenship because of a discriminatory State Department policy requiring proof of a biological link to a U.S. citizen parent. Today, Immigration Equality will be hosting a media call with Andrew and Elad Dvash-Banks with their lawyer, Aaron C. Morris. (Details below).

“This is a huge victory for Ethan Dvash-Banks and his family,” said Aaron C. Morris, Executive Director of Immigration Equality, co-counsel for the family. “Ethan will no longer be considered the undocumented twin of his brother Aiden. Yesterday’s ruling rightfully determined that Ethan has been a U.S. citizen since birth. 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. We will continue to fight until all same-sex couples have their relationships fully recognized.”

In the case of Dvash-Banks v. Pompeo, the court determined that as a child born to a married U.S. citizen parent, Ethan Dvash-Banks is entitled to birthright citizenship. However, the judge’s ruling stopped short of ordering the State Department to change its discriminatory policy, that may continue to deny other families that same right.

“For two years, this is something that weighed on us every single day. Not knowing whether Ethan would be allowed to stay in the U.S. is something we went to bed with every night. Now, our family is whole and safe,” said Andrew Dvash-Banks.

Media Call Details

When: Friday, February 22nd at 1:00 p.m. EST/10:00 a.m. PST

Where: Dial in by phone at 1-712-770-8067, conference code 550976

Background of Case

In January 2018, Immigration Equality and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP filed two lawsuits on behalf of married same-sex couples and their children. Two of those plaintiffs, Andrew Dvash-Banks and Elad Dvash-Banks, had twin sons through surrogacy in Canada. Andrew is a U.S. citizen and Elad is an Israeli citizen, and when they sought recognition of the twins’ U.S. citizenship, Andrew and Elad were forced by State Department policy to submit DNA tests and other documentation of their biological relationships to their boys. Because one son was conceived with the genetic material of one father and the other son with the genetic material of the other father, Aiden was treated by the State Department as a U.S. citizen while Ethan was forced to enter the U.S. on a tourist visa. Following the lawsuit, both children will be recognized as citizens from birth.

Immigration Equality and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP also represent Allison Blixt and Stefania Zaccari and their son Lucas, another family denied recognition by the State Department’s discriminatory policy.