Gay Couple Hail ‘Big Win’ in Battle Over Children’s Namibian Citizenship

Nyasha Francis Nyaungwa | Reuters | October 13, 2021

A Namibian court ruled that the son of a gay couple, born via surrogacy in South Africa, is a Namibian citizen by descent. After a two year battle, High Court Judge Masuku ruled that a paternity test is not necessary to prove that Yona Luhl-Delgado is the son of Namibian Philip Luhl and his Mexican husband, Guillermo Delgado. Namibia’s legal system does not recognize same-sex marriages and criminalizes sexual conduct between men, but the law is seldom enforced, and this ruling comes as a “big win” for same-sex couples.

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USCIS Updates Policy on Children Born Through Assistive Reproductive Technology

Jordan Williams | The Hill | August 5, 2021

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) updated its policy regarding children born through surrogacy and IVF abroad. The new policy means that a child born to a non-genetic or non-gestational parent will be a US citizen if the parent is married to the genetic or gestational parent. This allows for greater recognition of children born to same sex couples as well as families where there are not two genetic parents. 

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State Department Will Recognize Citizenship of Babies Born to a US Citizen Through In Vitro Fertilization or Surrogacy

Connor Perrett | Business Insider | May 18, 2021

The State Department announced that children born through surrogacy or IVF in other countries are automatically considered US citizens if one parent is a US citizen. Previously, children born abroad were required to be genetically related to the parent with US citizenship, but under the new policy, the genetic connection can be to either married parent. The updated policy will particularly alleviate the process of having children through assisted reproduction for same sex couples.

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Same-sex Couple Fight for Children Born via SA Surrogacy to be Granted Citizenship in Namibia

Kirthana Pillay and Sisipho Skweyiya | Sowetan LIVE | April 16, 2021

Namibian Philip Luhl and his husband Guillermo Delgado have welcomed three surrogacy-born children delivered in South Africa, but are struggling to obtain Namibian citizenship and travel documents for the children. The Namibian government requires proof of a genetic link to acknowledge parentage and to issue travel documents; it also does not recognize same-sex marriage. Luhl argues that these laws permit discrimination and violate human rights.

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Court Rules That Son of Gay Binational Couple Born Abroad by Surrogacy Is U.S. Citizen

Muri Assunção | Daily News | October 9, 2020

Following years of legal battle, a child born through surrogacy in Canada to a binational gay couple was ruled a US citizen by an appellate court. The US State Department had repeatedly rejected the child’s citizenship status but not that of his twin’s. The Executive Director of LGBTQ advocacy group Immigration Equality remarked that this decisiondemonstrates yet again that it is far past time for the State Department to change its discriminatory policy.”

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State Department Appeals Ruling Recognizing U.S. Citizenship of Gay Couple’s Daughter

Michael K. Lavers | Washington Blade | August 18, 2020

Roee and Adiel Kiviti of Chevy Chase, Maryland had a child born to a surrogate in Canada, only to learn that the US State Department would not recognize the American citizenship of their daughter. After a district judge ruled in favor of the couple, the State appealed the decision, continuing the legal battle. There have been several similar cases of discrimination against gay couples and their children in the US.

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Europe’s COVID-19 Lockdown Leaves New Families in Limbo in Ukraine

By Orlando Crowcroft & Marta Rodriguez Martinez | Euronews | April 4, 2020

in this article, a couple navigate travel restrictions after their son was born to a surrogate in Ukraine. With Ukraine’s borders closed, the couple details how they are processing their son’s UK citizenship and other obstacles they faced in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Gay Couple Sues Over U.S. Refusal to Recognize Child as Citizen

By The Associated Press | NBC News | July 24, 2019

This article summarizes the case of Derek Mize and Jonathan Gregg, a couple from Georgia who are suing the U.S. State Department for refusing to recognize the citizenship of their daughter, born in England via surrogacy.

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Both Parents Are American. The U.S. Says Their Baby Isn’t.

By Sarah Mervosh | The New York Times | May 21, 2019 

The U.S. State Department has come under intense scrutiny in recent months amidst accusations it discriminates against same-sex couples by requiring higher citizenship standards for their children—even when the couple is legally married.

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Trump Administration to LGBT Couples: Your ‘Out of Wedlock’ Kids Aren’t Citizens

By Scott Bixby | Daily Beast | May 15, 2019 

American parents who enter into surrogacy arrangements in countries outside the U.S. often assume—based on precedent—that their child will be eligible for birthright citizenship. However, the Trump administration now interprets the Immigration and Nationality Act to mean that “a child born abroad must be biologically related to a U.S. citizen parent,” a reality that puts many LGBTQ families at heightened risk for legal complications.

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