Thousands of same-sex couples in the United States are raising children. They may adopt or use alternative reproduction technology (ART) to bring children into their lives. Some use gestational surrogacy – an expensive proposition in the United States – to become parents. As such, numerous couples have taken advantage of surrogacy options abroad in order to bring children. A person automatically becomes a citizen since birth if they are born in the United States or if they derive citizenship from their parents, as prescribed by law. In enacting the Immigration and Nationality Act, Congress linked a child’s ability to derive citizenship from their parents to marriage and made it part of the ‘constellation of benefits’ that cannot be denied to same-sex couples under the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell. Thus, the marital children born abroad to same-sex couples ought to be recognized as United States citizens since birth, if at least one of the parents is a U.S. citizen. However, the U.S. Department of State refuses to recognize the children of married same-sex couples as marital children, thereby making it harder for them to obtain citizenship. In this workshop, participants will learn about the cases challenging the Department of State’s policy to require a ‘biological relationship’ with both parents in order to be recognized as a marital child – a requirement that has no footing in the text of the law – as well as about the harmful impact of this policy on families headed by same-sex couples.
Speakers: Susan Baker Manning (Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP); Omar Gonzalez-Pagan (Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc.); Aaron Morris (Immigration Equality); Cathy Sakimura (National Center for Lesbian Rights)
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