Federal Court Sides with Gay Dads in Child's Passport Case

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday September 1, 2020

A federal court sided with a married same-sex couple against the Trump administration in a case involving the government's attempt to treat their child, born in England via surrogacy, as though her parents were unwed, reports NBC News.

Derek Mize and Jonathan Gregg brought suit against the government in July, 2019, after the State Department said that it would not recognize their daughter Simone as an American citizen.

The child was born in 2018 after having been conceived using sperm from one of the men and a donated egg, NBC News said. Because of the circumstances of her birth and her parentage, NBC News reported, the State Department viewed her "like children born out of wedlock, not eligible for automatic birthright citizenship and subject to additional steps for naturalization," despite Gregg and Mize being legally married U.S. citizens, and despite their both being listed on their daughter's birth certificate.

The AP reported last year that "Mize was born and raised in Mississippi, while Gregg was born in London to a U.S. citizen mother and British father and was raised in London with dual citizenship."

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported in 2019 that the men, who live in Decatur, Georgia, were fearful that they might not be able to continue living in the U.S. as a family, due to their treatment by the State Department. The newspaper noted also that the family's ordeal marked at least the third time the child of a same-sex married couple was denied equal treatment to what a child of a heterosexual married couple would have gotten.

On Aug. 27, a federal judge "issued a summary judgment declaring that Simone Mize-Gregg has been a U.S. citizen since birth and ordered the U.S. State Department to issue her a passport," reported NBC News.

Immigration Equality, an LGBTQ advocacy group, represented the men in the case. The head of Immigration Equality, Aaron C. Morris, told NBC News that the U.S. government had been "setting up what looked a whole lot like a 'separate-but-equal' argument" in its rationale for refusing to recognize Simone as an American citizen at birth.

Derek Mize said in a statement, "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."

A spokesperson for the State Department told NBC News that the agency is "reviewing the decision with the Department of Justice."

Added the spokesperson: "We have no further comment at this time."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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