A married gay couple from Maryland has
sued the U.S. State Department for refusing to recognize their
daughter, who was born in Canada, as a U.S. Citizen.
Roee and Adiel Kiviti married in 2013
The couple welcomed their daughter,
Kessem Kiviti, in February via surrogacy in Canada.
The State Department has declared that
Kessem was “born out of wedlock” and has denied her U.S.
Adiel became a citizen in January after
immigrating from Israel. While both fathers are U.S. citizens, the
State Department is ignoring Roee's status because he does not have a
biological connection to his daughter. The government said that Adiel
has not met a residency requirement of five years.
The Kivitis are represented by
Immigration Equality, Lambda Legal, and pro bono counsel Morgan
“This is a fight for marriage
equality. It is a fight for the fundamental right of citizenship,”
Aaron C. Morris, executive director of Immigration Equality, said in
a statement. “By refusing to recognize their rights as a married
couple, the State Department is treating Roee and Adiel as
second-class citizens and treating Kessem as if she is not a citizen
at all. The administration has made abundantly clear it will ignore
the law and Constitution. We will not stand for it.”
The lawsuit was filed on Thursday in
the U.S. District Court of Maryland.
“The Supreme Court has repeatedly
affirmed that same-sex couples are entitled to the same constellation
of benefits linked to marriage as different-sex couples,” said Omar
Gonzalez-Pagan, senior attorney at Lambda Legal. “This is not only
unlawful, it is also cruel and un-American.”
The case is similar to what happened to
another gay couple from Georgia. Immigration Equality and Lambda
Legal filed a lawsuit in that case in July.