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On 3 October 2016, Equality Now, Human Rights Watch, and eight other international human rights organizations and institutions filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief in the case of Lynch v. Morales-Santana currently before the US Supreme Court.

The case challenges the federal Immigration and Nationality Act’s sex discriminatory residency requirements for unmarried fathers to transfer their nationality to children born abroad. 

(Equality Now filed an amicus brief with partners in the 2011 Flores-Villar case on the same issue which resulted in a tie and reaffirmed the lower court’s decision finding the discrimination to be constitutional.)

In the current case, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in July 2015 found these requirements to be unconstitutional.  The government appealed, however, and the US Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case on 9 November 2016. 

The amicus brief cites international law provisions on equality and nationality and provides examples of comparable court decisions as well as legislative progress towards equality in citizenship laws in other countries.  It also highlights the US role at the United Nations and in its human rights reports in promoting equal rights for women and men to transfer their nationality to their children –which is contradicted by the government’s appeal in this case.  We hope the Supreme Court will consider the combined knowledge and expertise of the organizations from around the world in the brief.

We are very thankful to Professor Martha Davis, Counsel of Record for the brief, and to Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP for their pro-bono legal support.