LOS ANGELES — Sixteen-month-old Aiden Dvash-Banks is a U.S. citizen living with his family in Los Angeles. His twin brother, Ethan, is undocumented and thus at risk of being deported.
It's an unusual situation that highlights discrimination against LGBT families by the U.S. government, according to the boys' married male parents, who have filed a lawsuit against the State Department with Immigration Equality, reports the Guardian.
Andrew Dvash-Banks, a U.S. citizen, and Elad Dvash-Banks, an Israeli citizen, argue both twins should be given U.S. citizenship since each has an American parent. The men were married in Canada, and the twins were born there, and the issue came up as the family began the legal process of moving to Los Angeles.
U.S. officials required DNA tests for the twins, then denied Ethan citizenship because he carries Elad's DNA, while Aiden carries Andrew's.
"The message is that you're not fully equal," Andrew tells the Guardian. "What the State Department decision has done was to basically tear my family apart," adds Elad. The couple's lawyer, Aaron Morris, argues citizenship for both boys would've been approved quickly if their parents were straight.
"If a mother and father walk into a consulate and have a marriage certificate and birth certificate, they're never asked any questions about the biology of the child," he tells the AP. "Every same-sex couple will be asked that."
A second suit notes the government denied citizenship to the son of a U.S. woman who was birthed by her Italian wife, per the Washington Post. The State Department refuses to comment on either suit but stresses a biological or blood connection must be established between a parent and child for that child to become a citizen at birth.