A gay married couple from Maryland on Thursday filed a federal lawsuit against the State Department over its refusal to recognize their daughter’s U.S. citizenship.
Roee Kiviti and Adiel Kiviti of Chevy Chase married in California in 2013. Their daughter was born via surrogate in Canada in February.
“K.R.K. was born in 2019 in Calgary, Canada, during Roee and Adiel’s marriage,” reads the lawsuit that was filed in the U.S. District Court of Maryland. “Both Adiel and Roee were U.S. citizens at the time of K.R.K.’s birth.”
The lawsuit notes Section 301(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act says, “a baby born abroad to married parents is a U.S. citizen at birth when both parents are U.S. citizens and one of them has resided in the United States at any point prior to the baby’s birth.”
Immigration Equality, Lambda Legal and the law firm Morgan Lewis, which represent the Kivitis, in a press release notes the State Department is treating the couple’s daughter as “born out of wedlock” because only Adiel Kiviti has a biological connection to her.
“The focus here is our little girl whose rights are being infringed upon by our government,” said the Kivitis in the press release that announced the lawsuit. “Every parent wants to protect their child, to give them assurances of tomorrow, and this policy isn’t letting us do that.”
“Our daughter will know her story,” they added. “She will know how she came into this world, she will know about all of the loving people who helped us become a family, and she will know how her parents fought for her rights and for the rights of other families.”
The Kivitis filed their lawsuit less than two months after Derek and Jonathan Mize-Gregg, a gay married couple in Atlanta, in July sued the State Department after it refused to recognize the U.S. citizenship of their daughter who was born via surrogacy in England in 2018.
“The State Department’s policy of requiring a ‘biological’ relationship between a child and both of his or her married parents misclassifies children born to married same-sex couples as ‘born out of wedlock,'” reads the Kivitis’ lawsuit. “This policy categorically excludes the children of same-sex couples from the marital presumption embodied in Section 301. The State Department thus disregards the parents’ valid marriages, ignores the legal and parental rights of non-biological parents, demeans the relationship between the child and his or her non-biological parent and destabilizes families.”
“It also disenfranchises U.S. citizen children of birthright citizenship,” adds the lawsuit.
The State Department on Thursday declined to comment on the lawsuit.