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Bi-National Couples


USA: Binational Couples Flooding Immigration Offices

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

Gay WeddingNow that married binational same sex couples can now request a green-card for the foreign-born partner, these couples are flooding into immigration offices around the country. McClatchy reports:

Same-sex couples have been flooding [immigration attorney Cara] Jobson’s office since Wednesday with requests for help applying for a green card for a foreign spouse, she said. Kirkbride and Kurzatkowska filed their papers Friday. The process includes filling out forms, getting a medical exam for the spouse applying for the green card, and showing that the foreign spouse won’t be a financial burden to the U.S., Jobson said. The foreign spouse also has to prove that he or she entered the country legally. Then, in about three months, the couple is called in for an interview, in which they have to show that they have a “bona fide” marriage, in that they share finances, or insurance, or children. If approved, the foreign spouse will soon receive a green card in the mail. After three years, the green card holder can apply for U.S. citizenship, as long as the couple is still married and living together.

I can only imagine the immense relief of these couples at the decision, and the frustration and anger that it took so long to get here.

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France: Country Signed Agreements With Ten European Nations to Ban Gay Citizens From Marrying

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

France - Google Maps

from Google Maps

France apparently has some long-standing agreements with ten other nations that bar French wedding officiants from marrying binational couples when one of the couple comes from those countries. Gay Star News reports:

France has signed agreements with several countries saying any ex-patriots would be banned from marrying under the new ‘Marriage for All’ law. The 10 countries are Algeria, Bosnia & Herzigovina, Cambodia, Laos, Montenegro, Morocco, Poland, Serbia, Slovenia, Tunisia as well as the region of Kosovo. All of the countries do not allow same-sex marriage and the estimated LGBT population of these countries is roughly 15.3 million people. These people would be stopped marrying their French same-sex partner. According to Radio France Internationale, agreements were signed decades ago but are coming into force in 2013.

A harsh reminder that we are still a long ways away from full equality, in spite of the advances of the last year.

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USA, Florida: Binational Gay Couple Gets First Green Card

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

Florida Gay Couple Gets Green CardThe long nightmare for same sex binational couples is finally over, and a couple in Florida has a green card to prove it. The Advocate reports:

Two men from Florida are the first binational, married, same-sex couple granted a greencard in the wake of DOMA’s death this week. The Supreme Court on Wednesday narrowly threw out the Defense of Marriage Act, which amongst its many injuries, made it impossible for those who marry a foreign-born same-sex person from sponsoring their spouse for a greencard (the reason: DOMA demanded the federal government not recognize state-sanctioned gay marriages). Two days later, a male couple from Florida, who married in a state or country where same-sex nuptials are recognized, benefited from SCOTUS’s decision, according to immigration attorney Lavi Soloway. The couple has not yet been identified by name.

We’re beyond thrilled for the happy couple.

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USA: Binational Same Sex Couples Can Now Get Green Cards

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

DOMA OverNow that the US Supreme Court has struck down section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, American citizens can sponsor their same-sex partners from other countries for a green card and eventually for citizenship. Joe.My.God reports:

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling striking down a core provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), lesbian and gay Americans will now be eligible to apply for green cards on behalf of their foreign national spouses, the organization Immigration Equality announced today. The court ruled today, in United States v. Windsor, that Section 3 of DOMA, which prohibited the federal government from conferring benefits to married same-sex couples, is unconstitutional. That provision of the law made it impossible for lesbian and gay couples to receive immigration benefits, including green cards.

While this is certain to be a relief for many couples, it doesn’t undo the damage the policy has done in the past to so many binational couples.

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New Video Hilights Heartbreaking Story of Binational Gay Couple Separated by DOMA

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Tim & JamieThousands of binational gay and lesbian couples are either living apart or in danger of being separated because of Defense of Marriage Act. has the heartbreaking story of one such couple:

Meet Tim and Jamie. They’ve been together since August 2006. They got married in June 2012. But in June 2009 they had their first inkling that their international love would be tested: Jamie, a native of Scotland, was detained at SeaTac Airport due to visa problems and was denied the right to call Tim. Now, Jamie and Tim’s marriage in Canada cannot be recognized legally in the United States because of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act.

It’s time for DOMA to go. Let’s hope the Supreme Court sees things the same way.

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USA: Senator Leahy Files Amendment to Immigration Bill to Help Binational Couples

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Vermont Senator Patrick LeahyIn a move that was expected (and widely expected to fail), Democratic senator Pat Leahy put forth an amendment to the immigration bill that would allow an American citizen to sponsor his or her foreign same sex partner. Think Progress reports:

On Tuesday, Leahy tried to rectify that problem after the bill was approved for debate. His new amendment, which will be voted on by the whole of the Senate, would ensure that same-sex couples in legal marriages are considered as a family unit in immigration proceedings. Should the amendment be adopted, it will allow, for example, a gay American man to sponsor his non-native born spouse for citizenship.

The GOP is pretty much uniformly opposed to the idea, so it will likely go nowhere. Let’s hope the Supremes save the Democrats’ bacon on this one.

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The death of hatred/birth of life

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

Hate:  To dislike somebody or something intensely, often in a way that evokes feelings of anger, hostility, or animosity.

Of all the miracles we can witness in a lifetime, the birth of a child has to rank right there at the top.  Our first human touch, first taste of oxygen, seeing people for the first time, seeing the stranger whose heart beat has brought comfort, feelings of hunger, feelings of pain, cold and fear.  With as much intensity our senses are experiencing, you would have to think we could remember every moment and second of this.  Try as we might, those memories are not to come, not with out some nudge from hypnotherapy, which I feel is suspect in itself.

I would be safe in my opinion that every child born, isn’t born knowing hatred.  Hatred, whose pure definition is intensity by nature, for which there shoul be some remembrances of.   As infants, we don’t have the basis of hatred, it is taught to us by those for whom we are supposed to love and trust, and those they deem as a reliable source of knowing right from wrong, what is sacred and what is unholy.  From governments, to the clergy, from news articles to news casters, from parents to friends, our fragile minds are robbed of the ability to think and decide for ourselves.  The point is we didn’t experience an epiphany and start hating our fellow earth travelers.  We didn’t have a break through during therapy and remember Pat Robinson making monster sounds under our bed as a child.  Fox news sulking around the dark attic of your home and scaring you with their ghoulish march, Hitler rattling chains in the closet and Westboro Baptist waiting in the dark basement breathing heavily.  No, we are taught.

We are taught by those who are still in search of that euphoric feeling that never has come from hating.  That spiritual high, the sense of accomplishment, that heroic feeling of saving the day, never comes.  They were told the same lies and are left unfulfilled by their hatred, and anger rears it ugly head if they are surrounded by other people told the same lies and they have to mask their disappointment and their shame and guilt that echo’s from the back of their minds.  Searching for the rewards promised from  hatred is very much like unrequited love.  Regardless of the depth of our commitments and dutiful following, hatred will never love us.  It will always leave a dark seizing black hole in our soul, which if not fixed, will devour us, and leave us to be digested within the insane hell of purgatory.

We are told insanity is repeating the same actions that leads to failure, expecting different results.  Instead of continuing running head long into the brick wall, expecting the door four feet to the left to magically move four feet to the right, I suggest your make the move.  Make the move to tell those thought to be trusted, that they are wrong.  You will not be used as a surrogate for the need for fulfillment.  You will no longer make the lay away payments on a note of promised happiness that will never be satisfied.  You will not mold your life based upon other beliefs or misunderstandings.  You will stop being your own boogieman.

The new concept will be hard at first, but if you can carry hate for this long, you can carry this even further.  When you see a person you were taught to hate, hug them.  With your mind racing with vile words implanted in you years ago, say out loud that you love them.  If they are quirky and you feel yourself stumbling, love them that much more.  When you feel a need to say your God is right, try saying I respect you and your following of your higher spirit.  When their skin color seems to rob you of feeling superior, go get a tan in a show of solidarity.  When words are spoken you don’t understand, trying learning what they are saying before you label those words as hateful, and war provoking. It might be surprising to know that they are respecting you and your differences, and could be sharing and bestowing a blessing upon you and your family.  Be an example for others, when your friends kick someone to the ground, be the first to pull them up and dust them off.  When your child is born, stop the growth of the family tree of hate, let it’s roots wither up and die with you.

You can spend a lifetime hating others and be unfulfilled and die hating yourself, or give yourself a chance to open love’s door and find the rewards waiting within.

USA: Immigration Reform Bill to Move Out of Senate Committee Without Provision for Binational Same Sex Couples

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

CongressAs many suspected, the immigration reform bill will move ahead without provisions to allow american citizens to sponsor their same sex spouses. The Washington Blade reports:

Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced on Tuesday that he’ll withhold amendments to include gay couples as part immigration reform after tearful speeches from Senate Democrats on the panel who said they couldn’t support the measures. After an extended speech on why he believes discrimination against gay couples is wrong — Leahy said “with a heavy heart” he wouldn’t introduce the amendments before the committee — which would make bi-national same-sex couples equal under the law to straight couples for immigration purposes.

Democrats on the panel ultimately torpedoed the amendment:

Democrats who are known for being LGBT rights supporters — Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) — said they were torn on the issue, but couldn’t support the amendments out of fear they would lose Republican support and it would kill the legislative package. Feinstein said the Supreme Court, which is currently considering the constitutionality of DOMA, may make the issue “moot” because a ruling against the anti-gay law in June would end discrimination against married bi-national couples.

As a practical matter, I almost understand this. But OTOH, this move may just embolden the GOP to push for even more concessions. I still say it should have been included in the bill from the get-go – make them take it out instead of try to get it added in. But the Democrats never were very good at negotiating.

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USA: Democrats Reluctant to Include Gay/Lesbian Binational Couples in Immigration Bill

Saturday, May 18th, 2013

Congress - Capitol BuildingSenate Democrats are considering offering an amendment to include gay and lesbian binational couples to the immigration reform bill on the floor instead of in committee. The Washington Blade explains:

Late Thursday, Politico reported that Democrats are asking the White House to tell Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to withhold amendments for bi-national same-sex couples until the larger measure reaches the Senate floor — where passage will likely be more difficult. “They’re increasingly uneasy about risking Republican support but reluctant to tell gay rights advocates that an amendment allowing American citizens to seek green cards for their same-sex foreign partners may not get a vote in the Judiciary Committee,” Politico reported. Concern over the amendments follows remarks from Republican Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) — as well as comments from Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to the Washington Blade — that including the pro-gay language would kill immigration reform.

Their mistake was to not include it in the original bill, where it would have been much harder to strip out. Senate Dems must be hoping the US Supreme Court will step in with their DOMA decision and take this decision off their hands.

USA: New Video from the DOMA Project Profiles Same-Sex Couples Harmed by DOMA

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

you tube bigThere’s a new video out showing couples who have been forced to split or leave the country by Defense of Marriage Act. reports:

Lavi Soloway of the DOMA project put this clip together to show the “Gang of Eight” and those opposed to including gays in immigration reform just a few of the couples getting harmed by leaving it out.

Hopefully either immigration reform or the US Supreme Court ruling will sort this out and help these couples.