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Immigration problems for surrogate twins of gay couple

10 January 2000
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 40

The three-week-old surrogate-born twins of a British homosexual couple have been refused official entry into the UK. The twins and their fathers were detained by immigration officers at Heathrow airport as the family tried to return to their UK home, and the passports of the children have been confiscated. The Home Office has agreed to allow the children temporary residency in Britain for one month, while their legal status is determined. The problems stem from the fact that the children were born to a surrogate in America. As the law stands in the UK, this woman will be recognised as the legal mother of the child and her husband as the father. Thus, although the couple involved intend to be, to all intents and purposes, the parents of the child and although the US supreme court has allowed both men to be registered on the birth certificates as 'parent one' and 'parent two', the men will still not be recognised as parents by UK law.

Born in America, the twins are registered as American citizens, and as such will always have immigration and other problems in the UK. The fathers want the children to be granted British citizenship and the right to live in the UK with them. The first step to overcome is to grant the babies an extended stay in the UK while their case is decided otherwise the family may have to go back to the USA and apply for entry clearance into the UK through the British embassy.

Normally, citizenship can only pass through a father to a child if that father is married to the mother. But Home Secretary Jack Straw has various alternative options available. He could personally intervene and grant citizenship, or allow the fathers to adopt the babies, or grant indefinite entry. However, as the case is so high-profile, the couple have been warned that the Home Secretary would be wary of setting a new precedent. The couple believe their treatment amounts to discrimination against the children of gay couples and have stated they are prepared to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Gay Couple's surrogate twins are refused entry to UK
The Mail on Sunday |  2 January 2000
Gay couple's twins denied entry to UK
The Guardian |  3 January 2000
Straw to decide on gay couple's surrogate twins
The Times |  3 January 2000
Twins born to gay pair begin fight to live in UK
The Independent |  3 January 2000
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