This myth that impeached president Donald Trump would be just fine on LGBTQ+ issues because he congratulated Elton John on getting married and once appeared in a weird skit with a dragged-up Rudy Giuliani was one of the most irresponsible lies spread by irresponsible journalists in 2016. The Trump administration has in fact spent the last three and a half years steadily attacking the rights of LGBTQ+ Americans.
And attacking the rights of their families, too. Last year, Trump’s State Department refused to recognize the U.S. citizenship of a child born to a married same-sex couple, even though both men “are U.S. citizens and children born abroad to heterosexual married U.S. citizens are automatically considered U.S. citizens themselves,” Lambda Legal said. The couple was forced to take the administration to federal court, where they won their case this week.
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Even though Derek Mize and Jonathan Gregg have been married since 2015 and are both listed on Simone’s birth certificate, Lambda Legal said Trump’s State Department “disregarded” their marriage “[b]ecause only one of Simone’s fathers has a biological connection to her.” The girl, now 2-years-old, was born via surrogacy in England. The administration instead “treated Simone as though she was born out of wedlock, a classification which requires more stringent requirements for recognition of her citizenship.”
The couple then sued last year. “The Immigration and Nationality Act states that children of married U.S. citizens born abroad are U.S. citizens from birth so long as one of their parents has lived in the U.S. at some point, but the State Department routinely denies that right to same-sex couples and their marital children,” Lambda Legal said. “While different-sex couples are automatically presumed to both be parents of their children, same-sex couples are subjected to invasive questioning about how they brought their child into their family.”
Last year, another same-sex couple sued Trump’s State Department for also refusing to recognize their daughter’s U.S. citizenship. Roee and Adiel Kiviti noted at the time they’d had no issues when their first child was born via surrogacy in Canada in 2016. “We got Lev’s passport within two days,” Kiviti told CNN last year. “We did the exact same process with our daughter Kessem earlier this month, and then received a phone call indicating that this was being treated as an out-of-wedlock birth, and as such, there are additional requirements that need to be met.”
Trump’s attacks on the freedoms of LGBTQ+ Americans have in fact been carried out with an intentional cruelty. When the administration this past summer announced a new rule stomping out Obama-era healthcare protections for transgender Americans, it didn’t just do it during Pride Month, but also on the anniversary of the Pride nightclub shooting. But remember, Trump waved around a Pride flag, so—oh wait, his administration also denied embassy requests to fly the flag during last year’s Pride Month.
“We are so relieved that the court has recognized our daughter, Simone, as the U.S. citizen she has been since the day she was born,” Mize said following the court’s decision, which orders the administration to issue her a passport. “When we brought Simone into this world, as married, same-sex parents, we never anticipated our own government would disrespect our family and refuse to recognize our daughter as a U.S. citizen.” Lambda Legal noted that the Kivitis, who the organization represented in court, also won their case this past summer.
“This is the second federal court this summer to rule against the State Department’s policy to treat children of married, same-sex parents as children ‘born out of wedlock’ and not entitled to birthright U.S. citizenship,” Lambda Legal’s Omar Gonzalez-Pagan said. “It is time for the federal government to stop defending this unlawful and unconstitutional policy. No family should have to face the fear and uncertainty of having their child’s citizenship status be held in limbo.”