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State Department no longer challenging gay couples' children's US citizenship

by Michael K. Lavers, Washington Blade

State Department no longer challenging gay couples' children's US citizenship

The State Department will no longer challenge court rulings that recognize the U.S. citizenship of two gay couples' children who were born abroad via surrogates.

The State Department in August appealed U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang's ruling in favor of Roee Kiviti and Adiel Kiviti of Chevy Chase, Maryland, who legally married in California in 2013. Their daughter, Kessem Kiviti, was born in Canada via surrogate in 2019.

Derek Mize and Jonathan Gregg, a gay couple from Atlanta, sued the State Department after it refused to recognize the U.S. citizenship of their daughter, Simone Mize-Gregg, who was born in England via surrogate.

U.S. District Judge Michael L. Brown in August ruled in favor of Mize and Gregg.

Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund and Immigration Equality in a news release issued Tuesday, October 27, said the State Department will not appeal Brown's ruling. The advocacy groups also note the State Department withdrew its appeal in the Kiviti case.

"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," said Roee Kiviti.

Mize and Gregg said they are both "extremely grateful that this fight is over and won."

"All we ever wanted was for Simone to be treated fairly," they said. "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."

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