Friday, July 26, 2019

Gay Couple Sue Over Citizenship of Child Born Through Surrogacy Abroad

A same-sex married couple has filed suit in a Georgia federal district court challenging the State Department's refusal to recognize their daughter as a U.S. citizen.  The complaint (full text) in Mize v. Pompeo, (MD GA, filed 7/23/2019), alleges that the due process and equal protection rights of James Mize and Jonathan Gregg were violated when the U.S. Embassy in Britain refused to issue a Consular Report of Birth Abroad and passport to their daughter who was born through assisted reproductive technology in Britain. It also contends that the State Department has misinterpreted the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The couple used the sperm of Mr. Gregg, an anonymous egg donor, and a surrogate who lives in Britain. Both fathers are U.S. citizens.  Mr. Gregg is a U.S. citizen by reason of birth in Britain to a U.S. citizen. He has lived in the U.S. less than five years. Mize and Gregg are listed as the only parents on the child's birth certificate.

Under Sec. 301 of the INA, a person born outside the United States to two married U.S. citizens is a U.S. citizen if at least one of the parents has resided in the U.S. at any time. However the State Department applies this provision only if the child has a biological relationship with both married parents. Otherwise it applies Sections 309 and 301(g) of the INA that govern when a child born out of wedlock is a citizen. In that case, the father must have lived in the U.S. for 5 years for the child to be a citizen.

The complaint alleges:
On information and belief, State Department officials are highly unlikely to ask different-sex parents who are identified as legal parents (e.g., on a child’s birth certificate) if their child is, in fact, biologically related to both legal parents. In contrast, same-sex parents will always trigger an investigation, and consular officials routinely ask same-sex parents for specific evidence of a biological tie and/or about the use of assisted reproductive technology.
CNN reports on the lawsuit.