One Irish gay man's quest to marry immigration and love
I do, but I can't : Why can't I get married to my American partner?
Overnight 18,000 previously legal same sex marriages entered an unprecedented legal limbo, and all future same sex marriages in the state were indefinitely postponed. That this was happening on the same night Barack Obama was elected president made it feel like living in two separate Americas simultaneously, with startlingly different outcomes, superimposed, one over the other.
Now I understand some people of faith have religious objections to unions they may see as unfortunate or even sinful. But I am not asking for their approval, and I’m certainly not insisting that they perform their religious ceremonies to mark my union.
I pay my taxes
Same-sex marriages aren’t compulsory. Muslims don’t sue to have Catholic priests or rabbis marry them; gays don’t go to parties where they’re not invited either.
In any case, I’m not religious. I simply want my relationship recognized as a legal union in law to avail of the same legal rights and entitlements enjoyed by other married couples.
It’s really that simple. I pay my taxes. I deserve the same rights.
But the reality is that for years I’ve been paying the same taxes (more actually) for far less rights.
If, for example, I had actually married my American partner in Massachusetts before I got my visa to live and work in this country, I would have been deported. You read that right.
But my marriage isn't good enough
Since the federal government doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage, my Massachusetts wedding would have indicated an intention to stay here permanently, and that would have meant I would be forced to leave. Hilarious irony, isn’t it?
For heterosexual couples, of course, the opposite happens -- it’s a mandatory visa for the foreign born partner. Everyone I mention this to, even people who don’t support marriage equality, see the blatant discrimination at work here.
In 2009 same-sex couples who have been legally married in U.S. states or foreign countries are not able to immigrate here based on their marriage. It’s time that inequality ended.
Because it’s no small matter. It ends up costing a lot -- financially and in other ways.
Paying a fortune to adjust a visa
Heterosexual couples can go down to City Hall and pick up a marriage license for $50, then adjust their visa status, but gay couples have to pay their lawyers tens of thousands of dollars to secure the basic right just to stay together.
My partner likes to joke that it’s because we’re worth more, but there’s anger beneath his throwaway statement.
In my view the Defense of Marriage Act, Proposition 8 and other anti-gay marriage initiatives are a kind of theft, really. They’re profoundly un-American, too – because they’re a taking away of rights, not a granting of them.
Through Proposition 8, for example, a bare majority of California voters said we disapprove of gay people and their relationships, so we will vote away their marriages, and we will ensure that they won’t have the right to marry in the future.
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