The State Department on Wednesday lost again in court in its bid to refuse US citizenship to some children who are born overseas to married same-sex couples.
US District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington, DC, denied the government's request to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a married lesbian couple — one woman is a US citizen, the other is not — whose son was denied US citizenship. The noncitizen parent, an Italian citizen, gave birth to the child, and the US government is arguing that his lack of a biological relationship to the US citizen parent makes him ineligible for citizenship. The couple has another son whom the State Department deemed a US citizen because the US citizen parent gave birth to him.
Sullivan didn't rule on the merits of the case, but he repeatedly expressed his discomfort with the State Department's position, calling it a "terrible situation." He kept returning to the hypothetical of the family arriving at a US airport, and the US citizen child watching as his brother is questioned by immigration authorities — a scenario he described as "outrageous" and "horrible."
"It tugs at the heartstrings," Sullivan said. "All they're asking for is, treat this child the same as the sibling."
Sullivan on Wednesday rejected the Justice Department's argument that the couple in the case before him, Allison Blixt (the US citizen) and Stefania Zaccari (the Italian citizen), lacked standing to sue. He also found that at this early stage of the proceedings, the couple had "plausibly" alleged that the State Department's policy unconstitutionally discriminated against same-sex parents and was motivated by a discriminatory purpose. Read more via Buzzfeed