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State Department Ends Policy Denying Citizenship to Children Born Abroad to Same-Sex Couples

May 19, 2021

Same-sex couple with their child

The State Department announced Tuesday it would grant U.S. citizenship to children born abroad to married couples via in vitro fertilization or surrogacy, making it easier for same-sex parents to transmit citizenship to their child.

Under the new policy, children born outside the United States to married parents must be biologically related to at least one parent and have at least one parent who is an American citizen.

Previously, children born abroad had to have genetic ties to a U.S. citizen parent in order to gain citizenship.

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The State Department said the new guidelines take into account advances in assisted reproductive technology and “the realities of modern families.”

The rule change also allows couples who were previously denied citizenship for their child to re-apply to now pass citizenship to their child.

The move comes after several same-sex couples filed lawsuits suing the agency for denying citizenship to their children. The Trump administration lost two federal cases, but filed an appeal last year.

Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, a senior attorney at Lambda Legal, a nonprofit that represented two couples, told ABC News that the previous policy “was not only unlawful, as recognized by the courts in multiple cases, but that really caused harm and anguish to multiple families — stress and fear about the status of their children and their ability to be in the United States and their ability to have the full benefits and responsibilities of citizenship.”

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