US refuses to recognise same-sex couple’s baby daughter


If you thought same-sex couples have equal rights in the US, think again. Two married men are suing the government after it refused to recognise their daughter’s US citizenship.

Derek Mize and Jonathan Gregg are a same-sex couple who married in New York in 2015. They had their daughter Simone via surrogacy thanks a friend in England in 2018 and both fathers are listed on her birth certificate.

However, when they applied for recognition of her US citizenship, the US consulate in London rejected their application.

Because only one of Simone’s fathers has a biological connection to her, the State Department is disregarding Jonathan and Derek’s marriage and is treating Simone as though she was born out of wedlock, a classification which requires more stringent requirements for recognition of her citizenship.

The couple, backed by Immigration Equality and Lambda Legal, is now suing the State Department in a bid to force it to recognise the baby girl’s citizenship.

“Becoming Simone’s fathers has been the greatest privilege of our lives,” said the two men in a statement. “Her beautiful voice, her hugs, her toddling around the house – these are daily blessings in our home. We are filing this litigation today because, as her parents, we have a duty to protect our daughter.”

Writing on his Facebook page, Mize said: “Suing your government on behalf of your daughter is a really sad way to spend time. It’s sad because fighting our government has already stolen away precious moments we could have relaxed with Simone. It’s sad because fighting our government strains our health, our relationships, and our careers. And it is sad because, even if we win, we will always have to tell Simone’s story with this beginning – She was too unique, too loved, too fabulous to be understood by her government in 2019.”

Aaron C. Morris, Executive Director of Immigration Equality and one of the couples’ attorneys added: “The State Department’s policy is not only cruel, it is unconstitutional. The fight for marriage equality is not over, and we will not stand down until the State Department changes its unlawful policy.”

America’s Immigration and Nationality Act states that children of married US citizens born abroad are US citizens from birth so long as one of their parents has lived in the US at some point, but the State Department routinely denies that right to same-sex couples and their children, say the men’s legal team.

While different-sex couples are automatically presumed to both be parents of their children, same-sex couples are subjected to invasive questioning about how they brought their child into their family, and because one parent is not a biological parent, they are treated as if they are not married, and their children are not recognised as citizens unless the biological parent can meet additional criteria.

A petition has also been launched calling on the State Department to change its discriminatory policy.

Get the Mamba Newsletter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend