Derek Mize and Jonathan Gregg, a gay couple at the center of one of the battles between the Trump administration and a toddler, received some wonderful news this week. US District judge Michael Brown ruled that their child, born in England via surrogacy. is entitled to citizenship. Read on for the full story.
Trump Administration Loses Battle to Keep Gay Couple’s Child From Becoming US Citizen
Georgia residents Derek Mize and Jonathan Gregg filed a lawsuit back in July 2019, after the State Department refused to recognize the citizenship rights of daughter Simone. Since Simone is only biologically related to one of her fathers, the State Department originally declared that she was born “out of wedlock,” even though the couple is, in fact, legally married. That meant that she wasn’t eligible for automatic citizenship granted to other children born to US citizens.
Now, just over a year later, Mize and Gregg can claim victory. Judge Brown ordered the State Department to give Simone a US passport. Brown ruled that she doesn’t need to be biologically related to both fathers to be entitled to citizenship. The couple is, obviously, relieved. In a press statement, Mize said,
“When we brought Simone into this world, as married, same-sex parents, we never anticipated our own government would disrespect our family and refuse to recognize our daughter as a US citizen. “As a result of the State Department’s discriminatory actions, we have undertaken a long journey to have our daughter recognized as a US citizen.
He went on to say that today, that journey is complete.
“”…we are overcome with gratitude, for our lawyers and for the court, for recognizing us as a family that is simply trying to give our daughter the best possible start, which all children deserve.”
The battle is won, but the war rages on
Omar Gonzalez-Pagan of Lambda Legal, called the ruling a “resounding victory” for LGBT+ families, saying:
“This is the second federal court this summer to rule against the State Department’s policy to treat children of married, same-sex parents as children ‘born out of wedlock’ and not entitled to birthright US citizenship.”
Earlier this summer, a judge also ruled in favorite of Kessem Kiviti, daughter of Roee and Adiel Kiviti, two legally-wed gay U.S. citizens who used a Canadian surrogate to help them realize their dream of becoming a family. Just like Simone, Kessem is only biologically related to one of her fathers.
However, the story doesn’t end there. Even after the ruling, the US State Department continued denying the child’s rights. In August, Trump’s administration filed an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, calling for a reversal on the ruling.
Lambda Legal and Immigration Equality took on the cases of both couples. In their suit, they alleged that the State Department treats married same-sex couples differently than married opposite sex couples. The lawsuit also claimed that the department’s policy violates the law and the United States Constitution.
“It is time for the federal government to stop defending this unlawful and unconstitutional policy. No family should have to face the fear and uncertainty of having their child’s citizenship status be held in limbo.”
Mize and Gregg can- and should- breathe a sigh of relief today. However, given the Trump administration’s long list of attacks against the LGBTQ community, the war is far from over.
What are your thoughts on the Trump Administration’s ongoing efforts to prevent children of gay couples from claiming their citizenship rights? Share below.