Metro Weekly

Trump’s press secretary says denying gay couple’s daughter citizenship has ‘nothing to do’ with sexual orientation

Kayleigh McEnany defends president's record on LGBTQ rights, citing decriminalization efforts and relaxed restrictions on gay blood donors

trump, gay couple, daughter, citizen
Kayleigh McEnany – Photo: NowThis, via YouTube

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany claimed that the Trump administration’s attempts to argue against granting citizenship to the two-year-old daughter of a same-sex couple  has “nothing to do” with the parents’ sexual orientation.

During her daily press briefing on Monday, McEnany was asked a question by Chris Johnson, reporter for the Washington Blade, a D.C.-based LGBTQ publication. Johnson specifically asked about a recent court decision in which a federal judge in Georgia ordered the State Department to recognize the citizenship of, and issue a U.S. passport to, Simone Mize-Gregg, the daughter of a married gay couple who was born in England using a surrogate.

As Metro Weekly previously reported, the judge in that case found that the State Department’s policy of requiring the children of same-sex couples to overcome additional obstacles to having their citizenship recognized violated the Immigration and Nationality Act and is a form of discrimination because it is based on the presumption that legal same-sex marriages are invalid.

In response, McEnany said that the Trump administration’s arguments against recognizing the girl’s citizenship — and, by extension, its decision to appeal a similar decision in a case involving a same-sex couple from Maryland — “pertains to surrogacy and had nothing to do with the sexual orientation of the parents.”

She did not elaborate on what the Trump administration finds objectionable about children of U.S. citizens who are conceived abroad using surrogacy.

She continued, reading from prepared remarks: “And this administration, [and] President, will proudly stand on a record of achievements, like leading a global initiative to end the criminalization of homosexuality throughout the world, launching a plan to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030, and easing a ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men.”

Johnson then tried to ask a follow-up question about constitutional concerns raised in the judge’s ruling, to which McEnany responded: “Again, for anything further, I’d refer you to the State Department.”

But critics of the administration have previously complained that the Trump administration’s effort to end the criminalization of homosexuality in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean has bore little fruit, in terms of changing laws — Gabon recently repealed its anti-LGBTQ laws, though apparently with little U.S. input, and Botswana’s laws were only changed by the courts following a lawsuit.

Related: Trump’s press secretary praises his “great record” with the LGBTQ community while ignoring trans military ban

Additionally, critics note that the easing of restrictions, including the reduction of the deferral period for sexually active gay and bisexual men to three months, was done only in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for antibody-rich plasma from people who had survived the virus.

The LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD accused McEnany of lying about the Trump administration’s record.

“The White House press secretary is wrong and so is the administration’s policy, which has in fact only targeted same-sex parents,” GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement. “McEnany also again falsified the Trump administration’s LGBTQ record — 172 attacks and counting in policy and rhetoric. The administration’s “global initiative” went nowhere. Its plan for AIDS is horrifically underfunded and not serious. And the administration should be calling to completely lift the outdated and discriminatory ban on blood donations from gay and bi men. Press Secretary McEnany should update her LGBTQ talking points.

“We will continue to call out the truth about the administration’s attacks against LGBTQ people in rhetoric and policy,” Ellis added. “We’ll continue to call it what it is: abysmal. We’ll continue to question why McEnany thinks it’s a record to be proud of.”

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