Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Sunday, May 30, 2021

U.S. Changes Policy That Denied Citizenship To The Children of Same-Sex Couples

From CBS News:

The U.S. State Department has revoked a policy that made it difficult for the children of same-sex parents to recognized as U.S. citizens at birth. The previous policy stated that the U.S. citizen parent had to be biologically related to the child in order for them to have U.S. citizenship at birth. So, if one person in a couple was not a U.S. citizen, and that person was the biological parent of their child, the child was also not a citizen.

The department insisted a married U.S. citizen must have a biological connection to their child to pass on birthright citizenship, according to Immigration Equality, an LGBTQ immigration rights organization. However, under the Immigration and Nationality Act, there is no requirement for a biological relationship for married parents, according to Immigration Equality. Every federal court that heard the issue decided the State Department's policy was inconsistent with the statute. 

So, as of Tuesday, the State Department's policy has changed. "Children born abroad to parents, at least one of whom is a U.S. citizen and who are married to each other at the time of the birth, will be U.S. citizens from birth if they have a genetic or gestational tie to at least one of their parents and meet the INA's other requirements," the department said.

In a statement to CBS News, the State Department said the "updated interpretation and application of the INA takes into account the realities of modern families and advances in assisted reproductive technology (ART) unforeseen when the Act was enacted in 1952."

Read more here.

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