Family is Family: Demand Equal Treatment for Same-Sex Couples and their Children

Stand with the Mize-Gregg's, the Kiviti family and all LGBTQ families!
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The fight for marriage equality isn’t over. While different-sex married couples who have kids abroad are presumed to be the parents of their children, the U.S. State Department refuses to recognize the marriages and parental rights of same-sex couples. Then, it denies that their children are citizens.

On July 23, 2019, Immigration Equality and Lambda Legal sued the U.S. State Department on behalf of Derek Mize, Jonathan Gregg, and their daughter, Simone. Derek and Jonathan are a married same-sex couple whose daughter was denied birthright citizenship even though both of her fathers are U.S. citizens.

On September 12, 2019, Immigration Equality and Lambda Legal sued the U.S. State Department on behalf of Roee and Adiel Kiviti and their daughter, Kessem. Roee and Adiel are both U.S. citizens but only one of their children is recognized as a U.S. citizen. They both became fathers in 2016 when they welcomed their first child into their lives. Lev was born in Canada through surrogacy, and was rightfully recognized as a U.S. citizen since birth.

The couple decided to have a second child, and their daughter Kessem was born in Canada at the beginning of 2019. However, when they applied for Kessem’s passport, a State Department employee wrote “surrogacy” on their application and a group of employees analyzed their application. They were initially told Kessem’s application was approved, and they paid for her passport. The next day, Adiel received a phone call from a State Department attorney asking about his residency and informing him that the government would determine Kessem’s citizenship through a provision of the INA (Immigration and Nationality Act) that only applies to children “born out of wedlock.”

Kessem’s passport application was ultimately denied and the couple was told the U.S. government does not recognize Kessem as a U.S. citizen. She has been living in Maryland on a Canadian tourist visa that expired in mid-September.

When a same-sex couple goes to a U.S. consulate abroad to apply for their child’s passport, they are subjected to invasive questioning about how they brought their child into their family. Unless both parents can demonstrate a biological connection to their child, the child is treated as if he or she were born “out of wedlock.” Then, the family must meet additional criteria before their child’s citizenship is recognized, hurdles that married couples are not supposed to have to overcome.

Love is love and family is family. That is not just our belief, it’s the law, and the State Department must follow it. Stand with Derek, Jonathan, Simone, the Kiviti family, and all LGBTQ families and demand the State Department change its discriminatory policy immediately.

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About this petition
Tell the U.S. State Department to stop discriminating against married same-sex couples and their children.

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