Gay Georgia Couple Sues State Department after Daughter is Refused Citizenship

A gay Atlanta couple has sued the U.S. State Department after it refused to recognize their daughter’s citizenship.

Yesterday (July 23), Lambda Legal, Immigration Equality, and pro bono counsel Morgan Lewis filed a lawsuit against the U.S. State Department on behalf of Derek Mize and Jonathan Gregg.

Mize and Gregg are U.S. citizens who had their daughter Simone via surrogacy in England last year. Both fathers are listed on her birth certificate, but when they applied for recognition of U.S. citizenship, they were rejected.

Because only one of the men is her biological father, the State Department disregarded the couple’s marriage and treated their daughter as if she was born out of wedlock, which holds more stringent requirements for citizenship.

The couple’s legal representation contends that this move is in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which states that children of married U.S. citizens born abroad are U.S. citizens from birth.

“The State Department’s policy is not only cruel, it is unconstitutional,” said Aaron C. Morris, an attorney for the couple and the Executive Director of Immigration Equality. “The fight for marriage equality is not over, and we will not stand down until the State Department changes its unlawful policy.”

Their attorneys also argue that the denial of Simone’s citizenship violates the Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage.

“The Supreme Court has been clear that married same-sex couples cannot be denied the same protections that different-sex couples receive, and that includes the right to be recognized as their children’s parents regardless of who has a biological connection to a child,” said Karen Loewry, Senior Counsel for Lambda Legal. “The State Department has no business refusing to recognize Simone as an American citizen just like her parents. We will not allow this State Department to treat LGBTQ families like second-class citizens.”

To support the Mize-Gregg family and families like theirs, you can sign a petition from Lambda Legal demanding equal treatment of LGBTQ families.