U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Double Standard for Men and Women

The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday upheld a federal law that on its face treats men and women unequally. Immigration law in the United States holds that a child born outside of the U.S. to an unwed female citizen automatically becomes a U.S. citizen. A child born outside of the U.S. to an unwed male citizen, however, must prove paternity by “clear and convincing” evidence in order to become citizens. In yesterday’s decision, five Supreme Court Justices determined that this gender classification is constitutional because it serves “important governmental interests.” The majority specifically stated that one reason for the difference was the large number of males in the Armed Forces who are sent abroad each year and the ease of international travel. A rule that treated children of men and women equally would, in the majority’s view, lead to children becoming citizens when the father did not know of the existence of the child.


United States Supreme Court, Tuan Anh Nguyan v. INS - June 12, 2001

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