Now that they’ve received a federal appeals court win, will this happy family be left alone?
According to NBC affiliate 21 WFMJ, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that 4-year-old Ethan Dvash-Banks, son of Andrew and Elad Dvash-Banks, is an American citizen. A three-judge panel ruled unanimously that Ethan’s citizenship was right due to precedent from previous decisions.
“No longer will these parents have to worry that their twin sons will be treated as if they were born out of wedlock simply because they have two fathers,” Aaron C. Morris, executive director of Immigration Equality and the family’s co-counsel, said in a statement.
But what was the point of contention between the Dvash-Banks family and the U.S. State Department? In 2010, Andrew and Elad married in Canada. The two then had twins Ethan and Aiden Dvash-Bank in 2016 through surrogacy. The family then decided to move to American to be closer to Andrew’s family. This is when the U.S. State Department stepped in.
Under U.S. law, a child born to a U.S. citizen is entitled to citizenship at birth. This is true no matter where the child is born and even if the other parent is a foreigner. Despite this, the U.S. State Department claimed that Aiden, the biological son of Andrew, was a U.S. citizen but Ethan, the biological child of Elad, was not. After this, the family, with the help of Immigration Equality, filed a lawsuit.
“The agency’s policy unconstitutionally disregards the dignity and sanctity of same-sex marriages by refusing to recognize the birthright citizenship of the children of married same-sex couples,” the first lawsuit said. “The State Department’s policy is arbitrary, capricious and serves no rational, legitimate, or substantial government interest.”
Eventually, the family won the lawsuit in February of 2019. But then, the State Department appealed the decision. Thankfully, the Dvash-Banks family has now won that appeals court case and is able to say that under the eyes of the law, Ethan is a U.S. citizen. To record this victory and the trials it took to get here, Andrew and Elad set up email accounts and correspondence. These accounts are being used like digital journals. Once the twins are older, the married gay couple hopes to sharing this whole affair with their sons.
“We want both to know how much we love then and how much we fight for them,” said Andrew. “The fact that they’re twins and not being treated equally, we want them to know that we did everything to make that right and we were successful.”