Your country or your partner?
Congratulations to Andrew Solomon and John Habich on their June 30 marriage in England [First Person, January 15]. I wonder, however, if Mr. Solomon knows how lucky he is! By being a dual U.S.-U.K. citizen, he and his U.S. citizen partner, Mr. Habich, are able not only to wed but to live together in the United States in the first place–a “privilege” denied to the 50,000 or so same-sex binational couples struggling to stay together legally in the U.S.
Mr. Solomon’s article, though interesting, completely misses the harsh reality that GLBT U.S. citizens don’t have the right to sponsor their partners for immigration at all. If Mr. Solomon did not have dual citizenship and Mr. Habich tried to sponsor him, they would be denied on the basis that they are not family. Since they are unable to wed in the United States, the INS would refuse to recognize their relationship, and hence Mr. Solomon might be back at JFK again–this time to say goodbye to his partner instead of flying off to a romantic honeymoon. (This applies to Massachusetts as well as every other state, because, due to DOMA, the U.S. government does not recognize Massachusetts same-sex marriages.)
Moreover, if Mr. Solomon had come to the United States on a temporary student or work visa and he applied for permanent residency based on his relationship with Mr. Habich, he would not only be denied but he would probably be deported and barred permanently from the United States on the grounds that his relationship implies an “intention to stay” in the United States and hence is a violation of his visa terms.
U.S. immigration policy is the last area of U.S. law where same-sex relationships are still, in a wholesale sense, illegal. The same-sex binational couples trying to survive in this country want nothing more than the right to live together–a right that every other law-abiding, taxpaying citizen of this country, gay or straight, takes for granted. Yet, our Congress, even under Democratic hands, has failed to hold even a single hearing on the one piece of legislation pending to do something about it, a bill called the Uniting American Families Act, and none of the presidential candidates currently serving in Congress, other than the stalwart Mr. Kucinich, has sponsored the bill.
It is time for the gay community to demand that Congress pass UAFA without delay. Every day we spend waiting for Congress to act is another day that an innocent binational couple will be forcibly exiled, deported, or broken up. Think for a minute: What would you choose if you had to choose between your country or your partner?
DOUG HAXALL, Out4Immigration
Los Angeles, Calif.
COPYRIGHT 2008 LPI Media
COPYRIGHT 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning