The State department has been accused of being slow to respond to the changes in the marriage laws that gave legal recognition to gay and lesbian couples. According to those committed to reforming the immigration laws regarding same-sex families, the federal agency has refused to adapt some of its laws regarding how citizenship is conferred to children born abroad. There are likely many New York residents who have struggled to obtain coveted documents due to outdated regulations.
Two civil suits have been filed against the State Department in response to its regulations. According to the federal agency, the Immigration and Nationality Act states that a biological connection between a parent and child must be present before a child can qualify for a U.S. passport. However, the courts have seemed to dispute this theory in light of a few rulings concerning previous challenges.
In one such case, a child was born to a woman who was married to a man who was a U.S. citizen. Even though her husband was not the biological father of the child, when that grown child was later arrested and faced deportation, the courts ruled that he qualified for citizenship based upon his mother’s husband being a citizen. This ruling seems to counter the biological bond of the State Department’s policy. In fact, there are calls to reform this particular law as it discriminates against same-sex couples or others who may resort to artificial insemination in order to obtain a child.
There has been some concession to change when it was determined that if a woman who is a U.S. citizen gives birth to a child through an egg and sperm donor while living abroad, that child will be granted citizenship rights. Though this revision does not go far enough, it is a positive change in State Department policies. Same-sex couples who reside in New York and are struggling to have their children recognized as U.S. citizens are entitled to seek assistance from an attorney who is well versed in same-sex rights and immigration policies.
Source: HuffPost, “The Dumb Reason Some Kids Born To LGBTQ Americans Aren’t U.S. Citizens“, Jessica Schulberg, March 3, 2018