In the latest victory for binational gay couples in the immigration system, officials in Hartford, Conn. moved earlier this week to drop deportation proceedings against Michael Thomas, a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago who married his American spouse, John Brandoli, in Massachusetts last year, according to Immigration Equality.
Immigration Equality spokesman Steve Ralls said Friday that his organization had brought the case to the attention of Department of Homeland Security executive secretary Philip McNamara, who was recently appointed to the role of LGBT liaison in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) working group tasked with reviewing the nation’s 300,000 pending deportation cases. (Thomas and Brandoli have a private immigration attorney, while Immigration Equality has consulted on the case in addition to providing media and legislative outreach.)
The closure of Thomas’s case is the second known positive result for a gay binational couple in a removal situation since the ICE deportation working group began its review on November 17, according to Immigration Equality.
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The Netherlands is to introduce a temporary residency permit for gay would-be immigrants who want to move to be with a Dutch partner but cannot do so because they are not married.
At the moment, foreign partners can only move to the Netherlands under family reunion rules if they are married or have a legally-binding relationship.
But gay couples cannot either marry or register their relationship in many countries, so the government is introducing the short-term marriage permit to help them get married and live together in the Netherlands. Once the couple has tied the knot, the permit can be swapped for an ordinary residency permit.
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Dutch to relax rules for gay binational couples, possibly Ugandan gay refugees
Gina Caprio, an American citizen who is currently being forced to live apart from her British born partner bravely spoke about the situation that all same sex binational couples dread. Gina, a volunteer with the grassroots organization Out4Immigration, presented the reality of what life is like for so many same sex binational couples who are separated from the person they love and expressed the importance of educating the public about the emotional, physical and financial hardships that the United States places on its LGBTQ citizens. She also spoke about her recent travels to the United Kingdom where she went to temporarily be reunited with her partner but was refused entry into the county without explanation and was returned to the United States the next day.
“Often people say why don’t you just move to the country your partner is from? I say it’s not always that simple. I can’t change the laws in another country but I can speak out to change the way things are here in America, the land of the free”
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“I’m as married as any other married man in this country,” Wells said Wednesday at a briefing for congressional staff. “My marriage is legally recognized in the state I live in. But the government is forcing me to choose between losing my family or losing my country.”
“We’re not asking for anything other than what is given to heterosexual married couples,” Makk said. He meets every qualification for legal residence except for being in a same-sex marriage, he said. Were it not for DOMA, he said, “I would have been a citizen by now.”
Imagine you meet someone and fall in love. Now imagine that the immigration laws of your country don’t allow you to live together. This is the reality for thousands of gay and lesbian Americans in bi-national relationships.
While an American citizen can sponsor a family member (spouse, child or parent) for a green card, an American citizen in a same-sex relationship can’t. That’s because the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman. This documentary is not about gay marriage but rather about the basic fundamental right that everyone deserves to be with the person you love.