Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

A gay Jewish couple had a daughter by surrogate. The State Department is suing to stop her becoming a citizen.

The State Department is appealing a federal judge’s ruling that said the United States must recognize the citizenship of the daughter of a gay Israeli-American couple, continuing the family’s legal battle to give the adopted children of same-sex couples the same right to U.S. citizenship as those of heterosexual couples.

Roee and Adiel Kiviti are American citizens, who have a son, Lev, that was born through surrogacy in Canada but has been recognized as a U.S. citizen since birth.

But when the couple’s daughter, Kessem, was born in 2019 through the same process, in Canada, the U.S. government denied her citizenship application, citing the fact that her biological relationship was to Adiel, who had only become a citizen at the beginning of the year, and was one year short of meeting the five-year residency requirement for transferring citizenship.

Even though Roee and Adiel are married, the State Department considered Kessem “born out of wedlock.” U.S. law states that “a baby born abroad to married parents is a U.S. citizen at birth when both parents are U.S. citizens and one of them has resided in the United States at any point prior to the baby’s birth.”

In June, a federal judge ruled that the U.S. had to make Kessem a citizen.

But on August 13 the government filed an appeal.

“It’s sad that we have to continue this legal battle,” Roee said in a press release about the appeal.

Ari Feldman is a staff writer at the Forward. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @aefeldman

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.