Children of same-sex married couples get a reprieve

The US State Department has reversed its decision disallowing foreign-born children of same-sex couples living in New Jersey and other states the right to be a US citizen. Under mounting pressure from immigrant rights groups and same-sex couples, the State Department (Department) dropped its controversial policy altogether, thus removing the obstacle that prevented children in this situation from calling America home.

The crux of the matter

At issue was a strict precondition of a child’s biological tie to both parents. This longstanding Department policy clashed head-on with that of the Immigration and Nationality Act’s (INA) absence of this blood-relationship stipulation. While the Department required a biological connection to both parents for the child’s birthright citizenship, the INA had no such prerequisite. The Department’s policy also did not recognize gay marriages, thus conferring upon children born into these relationships the status of out-of-wedlock births.

No giving up the fight

Just because the Department’s policy was legal did not make it right for same-sex families. Immigrant rights groups took up this cause and sued the Department in federal court several times over this issue. And, in the majority of cases, judges overwhelmingly sided with same-sex families as the Department’s argument of biological relatedness had no legal leg on which to stand in federal court.

The sweet smell of victory

The LGBT community is celebrating a huge win for themselves. While a few families in this circumstance have pending cases, the majority have been settled in their favor. Children of same-sex parents can now be afforded US citizenship with all its rights and privileges if they are born on foreign soil. So, one should never underestimate the power of unity when all hands are on deck.

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