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July 4, 1776 was the day that the Continental Congress decided on the wording of the Declaration of Independence. 

In 2017, a homosexual couple in California had two boys: one with DNA from his American father, the other with DNA from his Israeli-born father. The boy with genes from his America father was given U.S. citizenship, the other was not, since he only had DNA from his Israeli father, despite the fathers being legally married in the U.S.

While blood relation has been considered the norm for defining a family, blood relation isn’t a possibility for all couples. Thus, birthright citizenship shouldn’t be denied based on genetic relation.

“Absent a blood relationship between the child and the parent on whose citizenship the child's own claim is based, U.S. citizenship is not acquired,” explained the Supreme Court ruling on "Acquisition of U.S. Citizenship by Birth Abroad to U.S. Citizen Parent."

The ruling continues — “The burden of proving a claim to U.S. citizenship, including blood relationship and legal relationship, where applicable, is on the person making such claim [emphasis added].”

In addition to queer couples, however, this mandate excludes other couples as well. The Office of Women’s Health reports that about 10 percent of women (6.1 million) in the U.S. ages 15-44 have difficulty getting or staying pregnant. What’s more, 10-15 percent of men have low sperm counts, making conception difficult. If these U.S. citizens seek assisted reproduction abroad, their children’s citizenship could be in jeopardy as well.

Instead of mandating blood relation as a child’s requirement for U.S. citizenship, the emphasis should be on legal relationship, such as marriage to a U.S. citizen and the couple living in the U.S. for a certain amount of years.

Genetics is not the absolute definition for a family member. Someone adopted into a family can still experience the same love and affection as someone with genetic relation. Using genetics as the standard discriminates against LGBTQ couples and individuals who have infertility issues. Blood birthright is best left to the medieval period, not in 2018 where the definition of family has changed tremendously.

Especially since we live In a political era where LGBTQ rights seem more fragile than they once were, parents should not have to fear their family ripped apart due to a denial birthright citizenship based on outdated definitions of family.

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