One boy was an American citizen, his twin brother wasn't. A judge's ruling changed that.

/ AP

Los Angeles — A federal judge in California ruled Thursday that a twin son of a gay married couple has been an American citizen since birth, handing a defeat to the U.S. government, which had only granted the status to his brother. The State Department was wrong to deny citizenship to 2-year-old Ethan Dvash-Banks because U.S. law does not require a child to show a biological relationship with their parents if their parents were married at the time of their birth, District Judge John F. Walter found.

A lawsuit filed by the boys' parents, Andrew and Elad Dvash-Banks, sought the same rights for Ethan that his brother, Aiden, has as a citizen.

Each boy was conceived with donor eggs and the sperm from a different father – one an American, the other an Israeli citizen – but born by the same surrogate mother minutes apart.

Elad Dvash-Banks, left, and his partner, Andrew, pose for photos with their twin sons, Ethan, center right, and Aiden in their apartment Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018, in Los Angeles. Jae C. Hong / AP

The government had only granted citizenship to Aiden, who DNA tests showed was the biological son of Andrew, a U.S. citizen. Ethan was conceived from the sperm of Elad Dvash-Banks, an Israeli citizen.

The suit was one of two filed last year by an LGBTQ immigrant rights group that said the State Department is discriminating against same-sex binational couples by denying their children citizenship at birth. The cases filed in Los Angeles and Washington by Immigration Equality said the children of a U.S. citizen who marries abroad are entitled to U.S. citizenship at birth no matter where they are born, even if the other parent is a foreigner. Only the Los Angeles case was decided Thursday.

The State Department did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on the ruling. Previously the department pointed to guidance on its website that said there must be a biological connection to a U.S. citizen to become a citizen at birth.

"This family was shocked and appalled and angry when they were told their family wasn't legal," said Aaron Morris, executive director of Immigration Equality. "They wanted their twin boys to be treated exactly the same."

Morris said the government wrongly applied a policy for children born out of wedlock to married same-sex couples.

Walter agreed, writing that the State Department statute does not contain language "requiring a 'blood relationship between the person and the father' in order for citizenship to be acquired at birth."

"This is justice! We are hopeful that no other family will ever have to go through this again. It's like a giant rock has been removed from our hearts," Andrew and Elad Dvash-Banks said in a statement provided by Immigration Equality.

Andrew Dvash-Banks was studying in Israel when he met his future husband, Elad, an Israeli citizen. Because they couldn't marry at the time in the U.S. or in Israel, they moved to Canada, where they wed in 2010. The children were born by a surrogate in September 2016.

Everything seemed fine until the couple brought their cranky infants to the American consulate in Toronto a few months later to apply for citizenship and the woman at the counter began asking probing questions they found shocking and humiliating.

The consular official told them she had discretion to require a DNA test to show who the biological father was of each boy and without those tests neither son would get citizenship. The men knew that Andrew was Aiden's biological father and Elad was Ethan's but they had kept it a secret and hadn't planned on telling anyone.

After submitting the DNA test results that proved who fathered each boy, the couple received a large and small envelope from the U.S. on March 2. The big one included Aiden's passport. The other was a letter notifying Andrew that Ethan's application had been denied.

The family has since moved to Los Angeles to be closer to Andrew Dvash-Banks' family.

The other case involves two women, one from the U.S., and one from Italy, who met in New York, wed in London and each gave birth to a son. The State Department didn't recognize the couple's marriage, the lawsuit said, and only granted citizenship to the boy whose biological mother was born and raised in the U.S.

First published on February 22, 2019

© 2019 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Gay Couple's Kids Citizenship

Ocasio-Cortez responds to Twitter trolls – and NYC billboard

She called Twitter trolls' memes "so weak"

10M ago

One boy was a U.S. citizen, his twin brother wasn’t – until now

Judge rules that a twin son of a gay married couple has been an American citizen since birth, handing a defeat to the U.S. government, which had only granted the status to his brother.

18M ago

High rents create a new class of hidden homeless

As affordable housing gets harder to find, some newly homeless live out of their cars on the streets of Los Angeles

42M ago

Teachers on strike: "Public schools everywhere get shortchanged"

Oakland, California's strike is latest labor dispute as teachers across U.S. struggle with funding and student needs

1H ago

Kraft Heinz shares plunge after $15 billion write-down, investigation

Food giant's shares down 20% in after-hours trading on disclosure of a federal probe and a $15.4 billion write-down

1H ago

American al-Qaeda member turned informant speaks

Bryant Viñas tells "60 Minutes" about the time he spent with al-Qaeda before providing key information to U.S. intelligence. Sunday at 7 p.m. ET/PT on CBS

15H ago

Andrew McCabe: The full "60 Minutes" interview

Former Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe tells "60 Minutes" about taking over for James Comey, starting investigations of President Trump, interactions with the president and his own firing

Feb 17

Chibok survivors of kidnapping by Boko Haram share their stories

Nearly five years after 276 girls were kidnapped from their school by Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram, some of the survivors tell "60 Minutes" about what they endured and how they're recovering

Feb 17

Remembering the man who saved 669 children from the Holocaust

Bob Simon interviews Sir Nicholas Winton, who helped save hundreds of mostly Jewish children from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia on the eve of the World War II

Jan 27

Howard Schultz considering independent run for president

The lifelong Democrat tells "60 Minutes" both parties are not doing what's necessary on behalf of the American people

Jan 27

Company launches "largest fleet of satellites in human history"

A private company has set off a revolution in space by launching hundreds of small satellites, enough to photograph the entire landmass of the Earth every day

Jan 27

Couple wins millions using lottery loophole

It was completely legal and it won them millions. Jon Wertheim reports on how Jerry Selbee and his wife Marge used "basic arithmetic" to crack the code on certain lottery games

Jan 27

Elijah Cummings' new power for investigating Trump

House Democrats have been stonewalled over the last two years when it came to subpoenas on various Trump administration dealings. But now Democrats have the majority, and Elijah Cummings plans to make the most of it

Jan 13

Right Rail – Video Promo – Listing

Smollett maintains innocence in alleged hoax

Jussie Smollett, the actor accused of creating a hate crime hoax, returned to the set of “Empire” after his first court appearance. His lawyers said in a statement that the actor "feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing." Dean Reynolds reports.

2H ago 04:22

Priced out: L.A.'s hidden homeless

Los Angeles is in the midst of the worst homeless crisis the city has ever seen, driven by rising rents, stagnant wages and an affordable housing shortage. CBSN Originals' Adam Yamaguchi meets a single mother living in her car with her teenage daughter, just one example of L.A.'s hidden homeless population that is steadily growing as longtime residents are priced out of their homes — with nowhere else to go.

21H ago 25:40

N.C. officials order election do-over

North Carolina election officials ordered a do-over in the country's last undecided congressional race, after a dramatic change of heart by the leading candidate. Republican Mark Harris conceded his 905 vote lead was tainted by possible election fraud. David Begnaud reports.

2H ago 03:24

Chicago archbishop speaks at sex abuse summit

The archbishop of Chicago spoke Friday morning at the Vatican's summit on clergy sex abuse as a new scandal surfaced back at home. Cardinal Blase Cupich called for accountability for priest sex abuse and said the church should "reject cover-ups" created out of fear of legal ramifications or scandal. Nikki Battiste reports.

2H ago 03:04

Rare winter storm pounds southwest U.S.

A record-breaking winter storm is pounding the southwest for a second day. Winter weather alerts are in effect for much of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. The all-time daily record in Flagstaff, Arizona, fell Thursday, as the storm dumped 36 inches of snow. Carter Evans reports.

2H ago 02:29

Ocasio-Cortez responds to Twitter trolls – and NYC billboard

She called Twitter trolls' memes "so weak"

10M ago

One boy was a U.S. citizen, his twin brother wasn’t – until now

Judge rules that a twin son of a gay married couple has been an American citizen since birth, handing a defeat to the U.S. government, which had only granted the status to his brother.

18M ago

Preview – Priced out: LA's hidden homeless

CBSN Originals’ Adam Yamaguchi heads to Los Angeles, a city where rent hikes and an affordable housing crisis have driven thousands into homelessness.

33M ago 00:30

High rents create a new class of hidden homeless

As affordable housing gets harder to find, some newly homeless live out of their cars on the streets of Los Angeles

42M ago

Why Alexis Ohanian wants nationwide family leave

The U.S. is the only developed nation without paid family leave. The co-founder of Reddit tells CBS News why he wants to change that.

44M ago 01:59

Kids protest to fight climate change

Greta Thunberg in Sweden and Alexandria Villasenor in the U.S. are two teenage girls at the forefront of a youth protest movement to fight climate change. CBSN has the story of the impact they're having worldwide.

55M ago 06:25

Eerie underwater photos of USS Hornet wreckage

"CBS This Morning" revealed the research vessel Petrel discovered the World War II wreckage in the South Pacific

Feb 15 9 photos

Notable deaths in 2019

A look back at the esteemed personalities who've left us this year, who touched us with their innovation, creativity and humanity

Jan 17 27 photos

New on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon

Shows and movies you'll want to stream soon

Jan 28 32 photos

Grammys 2019: Red carpet arrivals

See all the hottest looks from the 2019 Grammys, from Cardi B. to Lady Gaga and more.

Feb 10 49 photos

It's winter, but the music is hot!

Check out our gallery of musicians bringing the heat to concert stages this season

Feb 3 42 photos

Army dad surprises wife with homecoming after birth of twins

Cydney Cooper spent 12 days in the NICU with her newborn girls – then she got the surprise of a lifetime

Feb 20

Mom hears her son's heartbeat again through organ recipient

"I've made it so far with him, you just don't know. I just love you so much," the heart recipient told the mother

Feb 20

Woman with autism becomes lawyer

As a child Haley Moss was non-verbal — in 2018 she spoke at her law school graduation

Feb 18

These dogs went speed dating to find their perfect match

This Valentine's Day, even dogs are looking for love

Feb 14

Girl with incurable cancer becomes honorary cop

The chief of police couldn't hold back his tears while swearing her in

Feb 8

911 dispatcher helps boy with math homework

"I'm sorry for calling you, but I really needed help," the boy said after the dispatcher helped him solve his math problem

Jan 29  Original Article