The LGBT community has always faced social and legal discrimination within the United States. Until 2015, it was legal for states to deny gay or bisexual individuals the right to marry their significant other. When the Supreme Court finally decided to act like decent human beings and grant Americans their rights, that changed forever.
Or, so we thought.
In reality, LGBT couples continue to face discrimination under President Donald Trump, and it goes as far as ignoring their marriage. In an article published on May 15th by The Daily Beast, it was revealed that LGBT American couples may have their child’s citizenship revoked, or even not granted at all, due to the miracles of modern science.
A New Era of Equal Rights
The Story of the Kiviti’s
The Fourteenth Amendment and the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) lay out the requirements for American birthright citizenship. It states that a child must have at least one United States citizen parent to receive citizenship at birth. In the case of Roee and Adiel Kiviti, a gay married couple, this requirement is met; however, Adiel only recently became a naturalized United States citizen. Regardless, they are two American citizens that are married men and should receive the same treatment as straight couples. However, due to biological constraints, they must turn to surrogacy as a way to raise a family.
One of the wonders of modern science and technology is that two men or two women are able to have a kid that they are biologically related to. In 2016, Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) allowed the Kiviti’s to have their first child through a surrogate in Canada. They were able to verify the citizenship of their son and easily return back to the United States. However, when they went to Canada to have their second child via surrogacy, their return to the states was not simple nor easy.
When Roee and Adiel contacted the American Consulate in Calgary to receive a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or simply a birth certificate for Americans born abroad, they were asked for their original marriage certificate. They didn’t bring it with them to Canada, so that was not possible. The Kiviti’s returned to the United States with a Canadian passport for their child and decided they would achieve Kessem Kiviti’s citizenship back in the states.
On the birth certificate for Kessem, both Roee and Adiel are listed as the parents of the child. Both were present for her birth, and both take care of her.
However, since the surrogate mother was not married to either of the parents, the relationship was considered “out of wedlock” despite Roee and Adiel being married. The State Department’s interpretation of the Immigration and Nationality Act includes biological requirements, but the INA never once mentions genetics nor biology. This effectively ignores their marriage despite the fact that the surrogate mother is not recognized as a parent of the child.
The Discriminatory Policies Against LGBT Couples
This new policy, while in no way directly referencing gay, lesbian, or bisexual individuals, results in massive amounts of LGBT discrimination. The policy changes are brand new as they were only enacted in the summer of 2018. This shouldn’t come as a shock to many, especially considering President Trump’s war on birthright citizenship.
LGBT couples are not using their own children as anchor babies. Families like the Kiviti’s are already settled in the United States and are naturalized citizens. While President Trump may have a vendetta against immigrants fleeing chaos and seeking refuge across the southern border, it is entirely unjustified to get that anger out on LGBT Americans. Attempts to classify LGBT Americans and illegal immigrants as the same kind of “offenders” is solely reliant on the individual’s inability to judge another human based off of their merit and circumstances. Rather, they are only able to classify people under stereotypes and laws that disregard those that are affected by them.
Gay and bisexual couples in the United States never truly achieved equal rights with their straight counterparts until 2015. Even after that, they still face social discrimination and stigmas that label them as unfit to be parents. The legalization of same-sex marriage resulted in fewer suicides among adolescents, especially among LGBT children, but the federal government’s disregard for gay marriages will likely see this effect reversed.
With this new citizenship policy, the Trump Administration is ensuring that the marriage of LGBT couples does not matter when they try to have children abroad, basically taking away their rights if they attempt to travel outside of the country.
“This is a very clear attack on families, on American families,” Roee told The Daily Beast. Roee is right, but it’s not an attack on all families. It’s an attack on families that differ from the traditionalist standard that the Republican Party works so hard to preserve. Luckily, a judge has already ruled in favor of another couple facing similar circumstances.
It’s possible that this issue could rise all the way to the Supreme Court, but one thing is certain: The Trump Administration is willing to restrict the rights of LGBT Americans if it means achieving a political victory.
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