Tag: win

Same-Sex Parents Win as State Department Backs Down in Two Cases Challenging Children’s Citizenship

Same-Sex Parents Win as State Department Backs Down in Two

In a significant victory for same-sex parents, the U.S. State Department on Monday backed down in two cases where it had been challenging the citizenship of children born abroad to married two-dad couples who were U.S. citizens.

Kiviti and Mize-Gregg families

The State Department withdrew its appeal in Kiviti vs. Pompeo, a case involving dads Roee and Adiel Kiviti, who legally married in California in 2013, and had their daughter Kessem via surrogacy in Canada in 2019. Because Kessem was born outside the U.S. and only has a biological connection to Adiel, however, the State Department considered Kessem as “born out of wedlock.” The department would not grant her citizenship unless she had a biological relationship to a U.S. citizen parent who had resided in the U.S. for five years. Even though both Roee and Adiel are U.S. citizens, Adiel was born in Israel and was one year short of the residency requirement.

The dads sued the State Department in 2019 with the help of Lambda Legal and Immigration Equality and pro bono counsel Morgan Lewis, arguing that the residency requirement didn’t apply to the children of married U.S. citizens. The U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland ruled in June that Kessem should be granted citizenship and that the Immigration and Nationality Act “does not require a biological relationship with both parents.”

After this week’s withdrawal by the State Department, Roee Kiviti said in a press statement:

We are very relieved, on behalf of our daughter, on behalf of our family, and on behalf of LGBT families across this great country of ours. The law was always clear. We knew it, the courts knew it, and now the State Department knows it, too.

Adiel Kiviti added:

This was never just about us. It was always about standing up for what’s right. We are grateful to those who did it before us, and we are humbled to be a part of the ongoing struggle for justice.

The State Department also said this week that it would not appeal the district court’s decision in Mize-Gregg v. Pompeo, where it had been challenging the citizenship of Simone Mize-Gregg, daughter of U.S. citizen’s Derek Mize and Jonathan Gregg. The men had legally married in New York in 2015 and now live in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2018, they had Simone via surrogacy in England and both fathers are listed on her birth certificate. Gregg himself had been born in London to a married U.S. citizen and was therefore a U.S. citizen since birth—but like Adiel Kiviti, was short of the five-year residency requirement in the U.S. That should not have been an issue, however, since he was married to a U.S. citizen—but the State Department refused Simone’s citizenship, treating her as “born out of wedlock.” The dads sued the State Department in 2019 with the help of the same organizations as the Kivitis. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia found in their favor  August.

Mize and Gregg said in a statement yesterday after the State Department said it would not appeal that decision:

We are extremely grateful that this fight is over and won. All we ever wanted was for Simone to be treated fairly. This process has reaffirmed for us that standing up for equal treatment is always right, no matter how difficult it is or long it may take.

Two more couples have sued the State Department for similar reasons. In October, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Dvash-Banks family, recognizing their child’s birthright citizenship. And a case involving two moms is now before a district court in New Jersey. There’s no word yet on whether the State Department will withdraw in these cases as well, but as Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, senior attorney at Lambda Legal and one of the lawyers for the families, said yesterday, “We hope that the Trump Administration and the State Department will abide by these courts’ decisions when it encounters other families headed by same-sex couples. No family should have to go through what the Kiviti and Mize-Gregg families endured.”

RuPaul dedicates record-breaking Emmy win to the late Chi Chi DeVayne

RuPaul dedicates record-breaking Emmy win to the late Chi Chi

Chi Chi Devayne onstage during RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 8 Finale Party in 2016. (Santiago Felipe/Getty Images)

RuPaul has smashed records with a fifth Emmy win, dedicating his victory to the late Drag Race queen Chi Chi DeVayne.

RuPaul’s record-breaking fifth consecutive win at the Emmys came yesterday in the Television Academy’s outstanding host for a reality or competition program category.

The drag superstar has won the category more times than anyone else in its 13-year history.

“On behalf of VH1, World of Wonder, and our incredible cast and crew, I want to thank the Academy for this great honour,” RuPaul said in a televised acceptance speech.

“I’ve always said, every time I bat my false eyelashes, I’m making a political statement. Well, tonight, the only political statement I want to make is this: Love.

“Love for our LGBT brothers and sisters, love for Black queens and brown queens, and love for the United States of America, where a little gay boy with nothing more than a pussycat wig and a dream can build an international platform that celebrates sweet, sensitive souls everywhere.”

In his acceptance speech, RuPaul went on to dedicate his achievement to the legendary queen Chi Chi DeVayne, who tragically died at just 34 years old after battling pneumonia.

Urging viewers to vote on November 3, he continued: “I’d like to dedicate this Emmy to one of my girls, Chi Chi DeVayne. May you rest in power and perfection.”

RuPaul’s heartfelt tribute to Chi Chi DeVayne.

Chi Chi DeVayne passed away on August 20, days after being hospitalised with pneumonia. She had lived with the chronic condition scleroderma.

Real name Zavion Davenport, the star competed on the eighth season of the show and on the third season of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars.

On Twitter, RuPaul wrote that he was “heartbroken” to learn that Chi Chi DeVayne had died.

“I am so grateful that we got to experience her kind and beautiful soul,” he said. “She will be dearly missed, but never forgotten. May her generous and loving spirit shine down on us all.”

The Emmy Award-winning host of Drag Race added: “On behalf of VH1, World of Wonder and the cast and crew of RuPaul’s Drag Race, I extend my deepest sympathy — from our family to hers.”

Florida student regains bathroom access in major win for transgender rights

Florida student regains bathroom access in major win for transgender

A federal appeals court delivered a major victory in transgender rights by ruling a Florida high school violated the law by refusing to allow transgender student Andrew Cody Adams to use the restroom consistent with his gender identity.

The decision relies heavily on the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, which found anti-LGBTQ discrimination in employment is a form of unlawful sex discrimination.

Adams, now 19 and a former student at Allen D. Nease High School in Ponte Vedra, Fla., said in a statement he’s “very happy to see justice prevail, after spending almost my entire high school career fighting for equal treatment.”

“High school is hard enough without having your school separate you from your peers and mark you as inferior,” Adams said. “I hope this decision helps save other transgender students from having to go through that painful and humiliating experience.”

Tara Borelli, counsel at the LGBTQ legal group Lambda Legal, which represents Adams, said in a statement the court “sent a clear message that schools must treat transgender students with the same dignity and respect as any other student.”

“The trial court was correct when it ruled that the law requires that Drew Adams be treated like every other boy and be allowed to use the boys’ restroom,” Borelli said. “We are glad the court saw the school board’s policy as unjust and discriminatory, and affirmed the inherent dignity of transgender students.”

via Washington Blade

Dads win battle with Trump over their family

Dads win battle with Trump over their family

Photo via Adiel & Roee Kiviti/Immigration Equality via AP

Adiel and Roee Kiviti, the married couple that sued the State Department over their child’s citizenship, got an early Father’s Day gift this week. A federal judge ruled in their favor, granting their daughter Kessem full American citizenship, and setting a precedent for other same-sex couples nationwide.

A surrogate gave birth to the girl in Canada in 2019. The State Department had initially denied Kessem citizenship, claiming that she was born “out of wedlock.”

The Kivitis both hold US citizenship, though both immigrated from Israel. Roee became a citizen in 2001, while Adiel received his citizenship in 2019. The couple did not encounter the same resistance upon the birth of their son, who was granted full citizenship at birth.

The State Department denied Kessem citizenship because, though she was genetically the child of Adiel, he had not lived in the US for more than five years–a requirement historically applied only to non-citizen residents.

Ultimately, the judge in the case, Judge Theodore Chuang, rejected the State Department’s argument on the grounds that both Adiel and Roee hold US citizenship and resided within the country, paving the way for Kessem to hold a US passport and citizenship.

via Queerty