Aiden and Ethan Dvash-Banks were twin brothers who were born minutes apart. However, one was considered a United States citizen while the other was not. How does this happen?

It sounds like the beginning of a convoluted riddle, but the reality was that the twins were sons to two married men, an American citizen and an Israeli citizen. The American father’s sperm conceived Aiden while the Israeli father’s sperm conceived Ethan. The surrogate mother gave birth to the boys in Canada during 2016.

According to the New York Times, the family had to sue the State Department for denying Ethan citizenship due to a department policy that states “a child born abroad must be biologically related to an American parent to become a citizen.”

In Ethan’s case, he did not relate biologically to his American father, but he was Ethan’s father none of the less. Activists argued the policy discriminates against gay couples, who often use assistance to have children.

Judge John F. Walter of the Federal District Court ruled on behalf of the parents and Ethan Dvash-Banks because a child born during a parents’ marriage does not have to demonstrate a biological relationship with both parents under the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Walter’s ruling established Ethan’s citizenship but did not offer any clarifications to the State Department’s policy on children abroad. The department also did not provide any comments about revisiting the procedure in the future.

How does this relate to me?

While it’s unlikely you will be in the same situation as Ethan, it’s not unlikely you will deal with issues during the citizenship process. It’s especially true if you are bringing the family to the United States or granting citizenship for your children.

Luckily, citizenship is not the only option. You can seek a K-1 visa to bring your spouse to America or consider applying for a green card. Either option allows your relatives to come to the U.S. legally and start the citizenship process.