The State Department reverses a policy that denied citizenship to some babies born abroad to same-sex parents.

citizenship babies

In a victory for same-sex couples, the State Department on Tuesday said it would grant U.S. citizenship to babies born abroad to married couples with at least one American parent — no matter which parent had biological connection to the child.

The new policy effectively guarantees that American and binational couples who use assisted reproductive technology to give birth overseas — such as surrogates or sperm donations — can pass along citizenship to their children.citizenship babies

Earlier rules had left couples like Allison Blixt and Stefania Zaccari in a precarious — and often unexpected — legal situation.

Ms. Blixt, who is American, and Ms. Zaccari, who is Italian, sued the State Department after their older son, Lucas, was denied citizenship. Lucas was conceived and carried to birth by Ms. Zaccari, while his younger brother, who was conceived and carried by his American mother, was given U.S. citizenship when he was born.

“We are relieved and thankful that our fight for our family to be recognized by the government has finally ended,” Ms. Blixt said on Tuesday in a statement released by Immigration Equality, which was advocating on behalf of same-sex families. “Lucas, who made me a mother, will finally be treated as my son and recognized as American, as his brother always has been.”

The State Department said in a statement that it could not estimate how many couples the new guidance would affect. Lawsuits filed against the State Department during the Trump administration are pending, one official said, but the guidance issued on Tuesday may soon render the litigation moot.

Previously, the State Department, based on an interpretation of 1950s immigration law, required a child born abroad to have a biological connection to an American parent in order to receive citizenship at birth.

The emphasis on biology drew scrutiny in particular for its impact on same-sex couples, who are more likely to use artificial reproductive technology.

In several cases, same-sex couples sued the State Department after their child was not recognized as a U.S. citizen.

In one stark example, the daughter of a married gay couple was denied citizenship, even though both of her fathers are American citizens. In that case, one of the fathers is an American citizen by birth, born and raised in the United States. His husband was born in Britain to an American mother. Their daughter, who was born abroad to a surrogate using a donor egg and sperm from her British-born father, did not qualify for citizenship at birth.

NYTimes.com, May 18, 2021 by Lara Jakes and Sarah Mervosh

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An Inheritance Tax Bill You ‘Can’t Fathom’: $10.8 Billion – Samsung

inheritance tax Samsung

The Samsung family in South Korea will also donate billions of dollars’ worth of art, including Picasso and Monet.

Picasso, Monet and Dalí are among the assets South Korea’s richest family is parting with as it prepares to pay one of the largest inheritance tax bills in history.inheritance tax Samsung

The Samsung family announced on Wednesday that it would pay $10.8 billion in inheritance taxes after the death of Lee Kun-hee, Samsung’s chairman, last year. South Korea has one of the highest inheritance taxes in the world. ​The family is required to inform the tax authorities of how it plans to pay the bill by Friday.

The answer will have deep implications for the family’s control of the company, the biggest and most profitable family-run conglomerate in South Korea. ​

Mr. Lee was credited with turning Samsung into a global tech giant known for its semiconductors and smartphones. But the reclusive chairman kept many secrets, including how he wanted to split his wealth ​among his wife and three children after he died.

Mr. Lee’s only son, Lee Jae-yong, is the de facto leader of Samsung. If he inherits his father’s shares in Samsung subsidiaries, it will tighten his control of the company. But it remains unclear how much he will inherit or how he will raise the billions of dollars needed to pay the inheritance tax. ​

Analysts expected Mr. Lee to sell some nonessential Samsung shares and secure bank loans​, hoping to pay them back with dividend payouts ​from his Samsung holdings​.

“How to split Chairman Lee’s fortune is at the heart of the question of who controls Samsung,” said Chung Sun-sup, editor of chaebul.com, which monitors South Korea’s family conglomerates, also known as chaebol. “It appears that the family has not yet reached a complete agreement.”

The Lees are South Korea’s richest family. The $10.8 billion is more than half the value of the father’s total estate, and more than three times the total inheritance taxes the government collected last year, according to Samsung.

 

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New surrogacy rules mean single man can live his fatherhood dream in UK

single father surrogacy

A teacher has become one of the first single fathers by choice in the UK after a change in the law to end the restriction of surrogacy services to couples only.

David Watkins, 42, was the first man to become a solo parent through Surrogacy UK, the country’s biggest not-for-profit surrogacy organisation, since the rules were reformed in 2019.single father surrogacysingle father surrogacy

Mr Watkins, who teaches deaf pupils in Southampton, was tired of waiting to find a man who shared his dream of becoming a father. He is now the proud parent to six-month-old Miles, who was conceived using his sperm and a donor egg. The fertilised egg was carried by Faye Spreadbury, 37, who gave birth to Miles in July.

“I am celebrating what I have…”

thetimes.co.uk, January 31, 2021

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Hungary amends constitution to redefine family, effectively banning gay adoption

Hungary gay adoption

The new Hungarian constitution defines family as “based on marriage and the parent-child relation. The mother is a woman, the father a man.”

BUDAPEST –  Hungary amended the definition of family in its constitution Tuesday to allow an effective ban on adoptionby same-sex couples, another win for the ruling conservatives but decried by one pro-LGBTQ group as “a dark day for human rights.”conversion therapy

The nationalist Fidesz party of Prime Minister Viktor Orban has worked to recast Hungary in a more conservative mold since winning a third successive landslide in 2018, and anti-gay verbal attacks and legislation have become common.

In recent years Orban, facing a unified opposition for the first time, has doubled down on propagating his increasingly conservative ideology, deploying strong language against immigrants and Muslims who he says could upend European culture.

The new Hungarian constitution defines family as “based on marriage and the parent-child relation. The mother is a woman, the father a man.” It also mandates that parents raise children in a conservative spirit.

“Hungary defends the right of children to identify with their birth gender and ensures their upbringing based on our nation’s constitutional identity and values based on our Christian culture,” it says.

Hungary has never allowed gay marriage but still recognizes civil unions. Adoption by gay and lesbian couples was possible until now if one partner applied as a single person.

Although there are exceptions when single people or family members can adopt children, “the main rule is that only married couples can adopt a child, that is, a man and a woman who are married,” Justice Minister Judit Varga wrote.

The legislation passed on Tuesday follow the passing of a new law earlier this year banning gender change in personal documents and ideological battles over children’s books showing diversity positively.

NBCnews.com, December 15, 2020 by Reuters

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State Department no longer fighting in 2 cases involving citizenship of same-sex couples’ children

State Department Citizenship

State Department no longer fighting in 2 cases involving citizenship of same-sex couples’ children

The State Department no longer fighting in 2 cases involving citizenship of same-sex couples’ children.  Two families are celebrating a decision by the U.S. State Department to stop fighting in two cases involving the citizenship of children of same-sex couples.Birthright citizenship

On Monday, the department withdrew its appeal in one case, and decided not to appeal a district-court decision in another, according to a statement released by Lambda Legal, a legal advocacy organization that focuses on the rights of LGBTQ people.

Earlier this year, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland held that Kessem Kiviti, the daughter of same-sex married couple Roee and Adiel Kiviti, had been a citizen since birth.

Kessen was born in Canada via surrogacy. When her parents — both born in Israel and naturalized citizens — applied for her a passport, the State Department said that she didn’t qualify. They argued that she was only biologically related to Adiel, who had lived in the U.S. for less than five years.

The couple sued, and on June 19, a court held that for the children of married parents, the law required no biological connection to a parent, for the child to be born a citizen.

The State Department appealed, but has now withdrawn it.

NYDailynews.com, by Muri Asuncao, October 28, 2020

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China’s LGBT community expresses disappointment after Shanghai Pride cancelled indefinitely

Shanghai Pride

China’s LGBT community expresses disappointment after Shanghai Pride cancelled indefinitely

Shanghai PrideShanghai Pride – Amy Yang always wanted to travel outside of China, but she didn’t expect her life to change as much as it did.

Having now completed her studies, the 27-year-old owns her own accessory business and says her current life, living with her girlfriend in Melbourne’s CBD, is beyond her wildest dreams.

“When I was in China I didn’t really realise my sexuality,” she said.

Homosexuality was officially declassified as a mental disorder in China in 2001 and is no longer considered illegal, but there remain significant obstacles for China’s LGBT community.

Last month, organisers of China’s largest LGBT festival, Shanghai Pride, said they would cancel the annual event indefinitely.

In a blog post on their website, the organisers gave no explanation for their decision, stating: “We love our community, and we are grateful for the experiences we’ve shared together. No matter what, we will always be proud — and you should be, too.”

One of the main organisers, Charlene Liu, said in a statement posted on Facebook that “the decision was difficult to make but we have to protect the safety of all involved”, without elaborating.

Shanghai Pride declined the ABC’s request to comment on why it cancelled the event.

www.abc.net.au By Oliver Lees September 11, 2020

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Birthright Citizenship Ordered for Gay Couple’s Child Born Overseas Through Surrogacy

Birthright citizenship

Birthright Citizenship Ordered for Gay Couple’s Child Born Overseas Through Surrogacy

A US district judge in Georgia issued a ruling on August 27 that the daughter of a married gay male couple, conceived through donor insemination from a donated egg with a woman in England serving as gestational surrogate, should be given birthright citizenship as a US citizen and entitled to a passport over the objections of the State Department.UK Supreme Court

The complication in this case is that the spouse whose sperm was used was not a US citizen at the time, though he has since become one through the marriage to his native-born US citizen husband.

If this sounds familiar, it is because the case of Mize v. Pompeo, decided on August 27, presents issues similar to those in Kiviti v. Pompeo, decided June 17 by a federal court in Maryland, which also ordered the State Department to recognize the birthright citizenship of the child of a married gay couple.

This is a recurring problem encountered by married gay male couples who use a foreign surrogate to have their child overseas.

Under the 14th Amendment, all persons born in the US are citizens at birth, regardless of the nationality or citizenship status of their parents — the only exceptions being children born to foreign diplomats stationed in the US or to temporary tourist or business visitors. The citizenship of children born overseas to US citizens is determined by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Under the INA, there is a crucial distinction depending on whether the parents are married to each other when the child is born. One provision concerns the overseas children of married US citizens, and a different provision applies if the children are born “out of wedlock.” As interpreted by the State Department, if the parents are married, the child is a birthright citizen so long as it is biologically related to one of them. If the parents are not married, at least one them who is biologically related to the child must be a US citizen who has resided in the US for at least five years.

gaycitynews.com – By Arthur Leonard, September 2, 2020

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Croatia gets first gay foster parents

Croatia gay foster

A Croatian gay couple became foster parents to two children after a legal battle becoming the first same-sex couple to be granted the right in the largely Catholic country, an activist said Monday.

Croatia, a European Union member since 2013, has seen a gradual liberalisation of gay rights in recent years.Croatia gay foster

Gay couples have been able to register as life partners since 2014, a status that grants them most of the same rights as married couples.

In February, the top court ruled that gay couples also had the right to foster children — a matter that was in dispute because they were not included in a 2018 law on the issue.

It paved the way for life partners Ivo Segota and Mladen Kozic from Zagreb to foster children after the bitter legal fight since 2017 during which they were ping-ponged between a social welfare centre, the social policy ministry and the courts.

“Our members Ivo and Mladen are very happy with new members of their household,” said Daniel Martinovic, head of Rainbow Families, a group of same-sex parents.

Deccan Herald via AFP, September 7, 2020

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Korean Adoptee Wins Landmark Case in Search for Birth Parents

Korean adoptee

In the first verdict of its kind, a South Korean court has ruled that Kara Bos, an American who is a Korean adoptee, is a daughter of an 85-year-old man in Seoul.

A court in Seoul ruled Friday that a Korean adoptee, adopted by an American couple almost four decades ago must be recognized as a daughter of an 85-year-old South Korean man, providing hope for the thousands of Korean-born adoptees who want to know the identities of their birth parents.adopted kids, adoption new york, new york adoption, new york state adoption

On Nov. 18, exactly 36 years after she was found abandoned in a parking lot in a city in central South Korea, Kara Bos, now an American citizen, filed her paternity lawsuit, the first in South Korea by an overseas adoptee. After winning the lawsuit, Ms. Bos now hopes to confront her father to ask him who her mother was.

Ms. Bos was flown to the United States 10 months after she was found abandoned, becoming one of thousands of South Korean babies and toddlers shipped annually out of their birth country for overseas adoption in the 1970s and ’80s.

In recent years, Ms. Bos has been making trips to South Korea in search of her birth mother. She wanted to meet her biological father not only to press him on her mother’s identity, but to find out why she was abandoned. But three women she believed to be her half sisters have blocked her from meeting the elderly man, claiming that she was not family. As a last resort, she filed the paternity lawsuit.

“Because of the lawsuit, I actually now have a right to register as his daughter,” Ms. Bos told reporters outside the Seoul Family Court following its ruling on Friday. The ruling followed DNA test results that showed a 99.9981 percent probability that the man and Ms. Bos were father and daughter.

Ms. Bos flew from Amsterdam to attend the court ruling on Friday. She has lived in Amsterdam since 2009 with her Dutch husband, a son and a daughter, running a drowning-prevention program for children.

If she is included in his father’s family registry, Ms. Bos by South Korean law will become entitled to split his inheritance with her other siblings. And her half sisters cannot stop her from meeting her father.

nytimes.com, June 12, 2020 by Choe Sang-Hun

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Coronavirus upends years of planning for international adoptions and surrogacy births

Coronavirus adoptions surrogacy

Coronavirus upends years of planning for international adoptions and surrogacy births

Coronavirus upends years of planning for international adoptions and surrogacy births.  Andrea Hoffmann’s mad dash to America began shortly after 2 a.m. on March 12 in Munich, when her husband roused her from sleep and said, “We have to get on a plane now.”Coronavirus adoptions surrogacy

The Hoffmanns both wanted to be in Maryland for the birth of their son to a surrogate who was due in late May. But Christian Hoffmann realized their plans had to be changed after watching President Trump on television as he announced travel restrictions on Europeans to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

When Christian left Andrea at the Munich airport at 6 a.m., they expected he would join her in a few weeks.

More than a month later, Christian Hoffmann is still in Munich, working at home for a pharmaceutical company. His wife is living temporarily in an apartment in Frederick, Md., doing administrative tasks on her laptop for her job as an air traffic controller. She has spent countless hours watching the news and the first five seasons of “Game of Thrones” on Netflix, and bonding with their surrogate, who has brought her three daughters to the parking lot of Andrea’s building so she can watch them dance from a second-floor balcony.

“We are just so glad one of us is here,” she said. “I didn’t think it would come to this. I thought, ‘It will be all right; they cannot lock down everything.’ I never would have imagined this situation.”

The sweeping travel restrictions, imposed with little advance notice, have interrupted plans for prospective new families around the world. The United States has imposed restrictions on travelers who have been in China, Iran and most of Europe, as well as Canada and Mexico. Nine of 10 people in the world live in countries that have closed their borders because of the covid-19 outbreak, narrowing international travel to a trickle.

As a result, many people overseas with surrogates in the United States are either stranded thousands of miles away or stuck in the United States, unable to bring their newborns home. And Americans who were about to fly abroad for international adoptions cannot enter the countries where children wait for them, often in orphanages.

“We literally had 15 families who had tickets purchased to leave the next day or in few days, and 10 families ready to purchase tickets,” said Susan Cox, vice president for policy at Holt International, an Oregon-based Christian organization that arranged more than 500 adoptions from other countries last year.

“In some cases, their adoptions had been in process for two or three years. They were finally at the point where the child was ready to travel, and the adoption was ready to be completed. They were so close.”

Thomas Mitchell and his wife, Callie, had been waiting for eight months to bring a 3-year-old boy home from an orphanage in northern China. Mitchell built him a bed that his daughters painted and decorated his room at their home in Chattanooga, Tenn., with a mural of pandas and pagodas. They had plane tickets to China in early February, but 12 days before their departure date, the adoption was put on indefinite hold.

“At first, we thought it would be a couple weeks’ delay,” said Thomas Mitchell, a real estate transaction coordinator. “Then it snowballed. Now, nobody knows when we can go.”

Washington Post, April 16, 2020, by Carol Morello

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