That's My Issue: Binationals and Gay Marriage

Monday, August 20, 2012

On March 9, 2010, lesbian and gay couples were finally able to legally wed in the District of Columbia. On April 5, John and I finally got married, eleven and a half years after we moved in together.

Friends and family were happy for us. Many were relieved. Our “problem” was solved.

Like most immigrants, I came to the United States with my American dream. I was going to work hard, improve my lot, and give back. I was going to live openly and with integrity. I was also going to fall in love, settle down, and have my own family.

For the most part, I have been fortunate and have done okay. I am working part-time while completing a doctoral degree. I volunteer and help out when I can. I am doing what I love and believe that in my small way I am making a difference. Best of all, I have fallen in love, settled down, and started a family with someone whom I share the same faith and core values.

Until we had the freedom to marry, John and I did our best to get whatever legal protections were doled out to same-gender couples. While living in New York, we registered as domestic partners. Upon relocating to Washington, we again signed up as domestic partners and eventually got a marriage license. 

Although no one can deny the fact that we are a married couple, the hard and unfair reality is that our marriage license isn’t worth much outside the District. Because of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act, which precludes the U.S. government from recognizing lesbian and gay unions, we and thousands of other committed couples are denied over 1,100 benefits and privileges blessed upon straight couples. Only because of whom we love.

Even though we have been paying our taxes and contributing to Social Security, neither of us will be entitled to the other’s benefits. Anything we give or bequeath each other – property, money, and other material possessions – will be taxed. The list goes on. 

My mother was among those who thought my marriage to John solved the problem. When I shared the news, she congratulated us and said “Great, so he should be able to sponsor you.” 

Thanks to the vagaries of our immigration system, I still do not have a green card, a Damocles sword that has hung over our heads since we committed to each other fourteen years ago.  I may consider the United States my home, having lived here legally for over two decades, and in my heart feel American, but at the end of the day I am still technically a foreign visitor, a foreign student.

I explained to my mom that because immigration is a federal matter, John will not be able to sponsor me for legal permanent residency. If we were a straight couple however, I’d have a green card by now. In the meantime, the choice we face is to find some way to keep me here legally or leave friends, family, and country we love once I get my Ph.D.


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Comments [3]

bethel zaldivar from ksa

my husband after he left last oct. 7 he never sent me a call,i tried to reach him but he never talked even in the phone,it was only his aunt i have a contact but he refuses to call me back his reason is not now maybe theres a time,please help me that even for a 1 call we can talk about our relationship. i have a news that he gonna marry a woman thru facebook but
shes also in our town, i hope i can talk to him before it gonna happen.i love my husband & i know he loves me too,but because of ambition in his mind he give up our 9 years relationship but we are married for almost 6 years,thank you in advance.

Oct. 23 2013 05:13 PM
bethel zaldivar from ksa

hi, good day, i want to ask for a help for my husband to comeback with me her in saudi,hes now in the phil. for a vacation,i hope my prayer be answerd & with your help that he may comeback soon after his 1 month vacation.thank you & more power to your company.

Oct. 23 2013 05:04 PM
Osborn from USA

I just had a fight with my wife a couple months back. This really caused a great havoc in our marriage. We have been married for three years now. I really love her and want to get her back. Its been about 6 months since we had this fight. We had a fight and she said she loved me a lot before the fight and after the fight she said she did not have the same feelings for me anymore. I need real help to get her back so i contacted a spell caster on the internet and i explain my problems to him and he cast a spell for me and guarantee me of three days that she will come back to me,to my surprise the third day she come back to me and now we are happy again. I just want to say thank you for helping me to get my wife back to me and I am totally grateful. Just in case you also need his help you can contact him on Email he can also render help to you if you need him to..... Osborn.

Nov. 04 2012 03:29 AM

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