Archive for July, 2011

Mark Morgan (South Africa) & Jaime Singson (U.S.)

Posted on July 22, 2011. Filed under: Stories - from other sites | Tags: , , , , , , |

Sunday (July 27, 2011) will be bittersweet

By Miranda Leitsinger

Mark Morgan, a 32-year-old South African, has found a way to stay in the country to be with his partner, Jaime Singson, a 34-year-old New Yorker whom he met in 2007: going to school. He is now on his second master’s degree, jokingly noting that the money he spends is akin to some couples who would pay thousands of dollars on a wedding.

The couple is ready to wed but faces a conundrum: Getting hitched would highlight Morgan’s intent to stay in the U.S. after his visa ends in 2013 — even though they would also need such documentation to prove their commitment is legitimate.

Mark Morgan, 32, and his partner, Jaime Singson, 34, would like to wed but are holding off since it could affect Morgan’s ability to
stay in the country after his visa expires. The South African is thrilled for gay couples who can wed in his adopted home of New York, but just wishes he could do the same.

“We’re definitely ready, but we’re not going to take that step, mainly because … that’s even a bigger flag for me to be put on a watch list once my visa expires,” he said. “So that’s something we’re not going to do until DOMA gets repealed or deemed unconstitutional.”

Since it would be difficult for him to get work with a student visa and juggle his studies, the situation puts a financial stress on the relationship. The couple could return to South Africa, where Morgan was a strategic logistics manager and same-sex marriage is legal.

His family tries to “convince me to come back home and not put myself through this here,” Morgan said. But the couple’s life is in New York: “We want to make our home here.”

Morgan and Singson celebrated when New York state lawmakers approved gay marriage on June 24, but Sunday, when the law takes effect, will be bittersweet.

“We are going to be watching with pride and joy all of these couples getting married,” Morgan said. “But at the same time, it’s that yearning for wanting to be in their situation, but knowing we cannot be. We cannot take that step and be that bold and just get married.”

For other couples, the fragility of their legal relationship has them living day to day. Cristina Ojeda‘s wife, Argentinean Monica Alcota, 36, was removed from a bus in New York two years ago by authorities who said she overstayed her visa. She was detained for three months.

Cristina Ojeda, left, and Monica Alcota, right, wed in Connecticut in 2010. Though their marriage is recognized in New York, where they now live, Alcota, an Argentinian, is facing possible deportation. “She was in this horrible, horrible place,” said Ojeda, 25. “I couldn’t touch her, like hug her or anything. Everything was through a glass. She was in jail pretty much.”

It took months for the couple, who live in Queens, to recover from that experience — and from not knowing if Alcota could be taken away again. They got married in Connecticut last year, but they have another court date in December to review Alcota’s deportation case.

“A heterosexual couple, they can choose … where they want to live … but in our case we can’t,” said Ojeda, a social worker. “They’re just basically giving us the option of separating or just leaving the country and leaving everything that I have here, my career, my family.”

This story is located at:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43848013/ns/us_news-life/#

Advertisements
Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Ashley Abraham-Hughes (U.S.) & Corinne (Britian)

Posted on July 22, 2011. Filed under: Stories - from other sites | Tags: , , , , |

Written By Miranda Leitsinger

For some gay couples, fight goes on to marry — and
stay in the US –
For binational gay couples, New
York’s same-sex marriage law doesn’t help

While many gay couples in New York tie the knot on Sunday, when same-sex marriage  becomes legal in the state, Ashley Abraham-Hughes and her wife, Corinne, will  be watching the festivities from the other side of the Atlantic.

That’s because since U.S. federal law still does not recognize same-sex marriage, and  since Corinne is British, the couple was forced to move to Britain, where their union — they wed in Connecticut in 2009 — is legal.

“While I do still love the U.S. and I always will, I am very resentful of the fact that I was effectively forced to become an expat,” said Abraham-Hughes, a 27-year-old who grew up in Pittsford in western New York and now lives in Manchester. “It’s absolutely ridiculous, and I just think the thinking on this whole issue is completely wrong.”

The couple’s plight is one likely facing many of the estimated 36,000 binational gay couples in the U.S., where the foreign partner in the relationship can face deportation and a 10-year ban from returning to America if they don’t already have or find a legal way to stay in the country.

The Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, enacted by Congress in 1996, blocks federal recognition of same-sex marriage, thereby denying various benefits given to heterosexual couples — such as the right to immigrate. Thirty-seven states have defense of marriage acts, while six states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage, according to the National Conference of
State Legislatures.

(California has also ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, but the state currently does not allow them to be performed because Proposition 8, which defined marriage as being between a man and a woman, was passed six months after the initial ruling. A judge then ruled the Proposition 8 amendment as being unconstitutional, and that ruling is now under appeal.)

“There are little more than 100,000 same-sex couples who are lawfully married in the United States. As to the federal government, they are complete strangers to each other,” said Lavi Soloway, a lawyer who has worked in this area since 1993 and is a cofounder of Immigration Equality.

So for couples in which one partner is not American, state-level approvals of same-sex marriage do little to change their mmigration status. Some of those who have overstayed their visas have been deported, though in recent months a number of couples have won reprieves from judges who have indicated they are waiting to see how the law regarding these kinds of cases may evolve, Soloway said.

“It (DOMA) was a pre-emptive rollback of civil rights that is unique in our history,” he said. “In the case of immigration, it has its cruelest manifestation because it means that somebody’s husband or wife is going to be deported only because they are gay.”

Calls to the Justice Department seeking comment on the DOMA same-sex marriage cases were not immediately returned. An official of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said the agency would continue to enforce the existing law.

But in a significant shift, President Barack Obama — who supports repealing DOMA — has given his backing to the proposed Respect for Marriage Act, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday.

“I can tell you that the president has long called for a legislative repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, which continues to have a real impact on the lives of real people — our families, friends and neighbors,” Carney said. “He is proud to support the Respect for Marriage Act … which would take DOMA off the books once and for all. This legislation would uphold the principle that the federal government should not deny gay and lesbian couples the same rights and legal protections as straight couples.”

But in the current legal reality, some same-sex binational couples are going into exile, plunking down a lot of money to remain in the U.S. or fighting deportation.

This story is located at: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43848013/ns/us_news-life/#

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

    About

    Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Immigration Stories – A Collective Wisdom

    RSS

    Subscribe Via RSS

    • Subscribe with Bloglines
    • Add your feed to Newsburst from CNET News.com
    • Subscribe in Google Reader
    • Add to My Yahoo!
    • Subscribe in NewsGator Online
    • The latest comments to all posts in RSS

    Meta

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...