I fell in love with my partner 10 years ago. We have great dreams and aspirations of spending the rest of our lives together, just like any other loving couple. But, of course, there is one huge issue that stands in our way. Discrimination.
I am a UK citizen, and my partner a native Californian – he is helpless in the ability of ensuring my permanent residency in the United States.
Thankfully, I have an employer that is understanding of this, and has embraced permanent residency sponsorship. However, this is a lengthy, arduous and very expensive process and at times is somewhat of a prison sentence.
For example, I am in constant worry (and have sleepless nights) that should anything happen to the company I work for – I could be subject to layoffs – my sponsor would be no more, and my partner and I would have to make alternate plans. One of which would be to leave the United States, and relocate to the UK, where at the very least same sex immigration is no longer an issue. That is our back-up plan – but is one of life changing and major upheaval and, once again, huge expense!
I have a (straight) colleague that has been in the US less time than I have. She met a wonderful man (US citizen), married …and within 3 years of her arrival (as a temporary visitor on the visa-waiver program) she received permanent residency. The other day, that same colleague called to inform me that she is about to take the examination to become “naturalized” to become a US Citizen. Meantime, I continue to wait for my green card to be issued…yes, I am still considered a temporary visitor.
My partner and I live in constant fear of what will happen next…especially in today’s economy (our immigration attorney informs me that under the current program, I have at least another 3 years to wait before my green card is issued). We have made a ‘comfortable’ life for us; however, it’s not ‘permanent’. If same-sex immigration policy was available to us, I too would be living the life of my straight colleague, studying for my ‘naturalization’ exam. I pay taxes…I contribute significantly to the local community – but it all could be taken away from us, and our lives turned upside down.
My partner and I have been together for 11 years. We have built a life together and work very hard. I found out he is illegal a year or two after we were together. I was too vested in him at the time to leave him for not telling me. He let is paperwork expire. I was in shock.
He has a valid social security card and pays taxes, but can not get a passport. He loves his family here and did not want to go back to Chile over twenty years ago. I was devastated to find this out. I can’t imagine the anguish and fear he has been living with and now I share in that anguish.
I am a poor kid from the midwest who pulled myself up out of poverty and it has not been easy. I finally found true love and hate the idea that I may be forced to choose between my home and country and my partner (though my partner would win out). I keep thinking to myself, “Why does life have to be so hard?”
I was once married to a woman. I loved her, but was naive about myself. As a person I am still the same smart, upstanding guy I always was. My relationship with my partner now, means more to me than my marriage, but yet I am not granted the same rights, dignity and respect for my relationship.
I should be able to sponsor my partner. I am no less of a human being. I am angry, hurt and frustrated that the bigoted majority gets to say whether we have a right to stay together in my country. My partner and I work hard for everything and pay taxes. We should be awarded the same rights. We should not have to live in fear of losing the life we have made for ourselves here.
My partner’s mother died while he has been here and he loves this country so much that he didn’t go back. He waits for the day when he can go back and visit his mother’s grave and return safely to his home here in the U.S. My partner spent most of his childhood here in the states attending school and living with his older sister who is a U.S. Citizen, which is why he didn’t want to leave. Equality has to happen and it has to happen now.
I feel fortunate to have been brought up in a home where there was no “black and white” and no “gay and straight”…we were just people.
I have family members who are lesbian, friends who are gay, and students (I used to work at the local school) who felt comfortable coming to me to discuss their sexual identity issues above everyone else. I’m glad of that and so incredibly happy that I have these people in my life!
My family, friends, and yes, my former students, enrich my life and remind me every day that “people are people.” Now, I am a parent and my children are learning that there is no reason to shun someone for any reason. We’re not in control of the color of skin we’re born with, the sexuality we’re born with, or the color of the eyes we’re born with…we just are, and God doesn’t make mistakes…so no one is better than another.
People are people.
I give a damn about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality because I’ve been with my partner for over 8 years and still can’t sponsor him for immigration into the U.S.
We met cute like many college students. I was in art school studying film, he was in school studying music; we met at a rock show. (I still of course have the t-shirt I bought from the band that night.) Our first date was at a Brit Pop night at another club. It was clear rather quickly that this relationship was going to last. He moved in a year later after I returned from a summer internship in Chicago.
But something was very wrong.
His student visa was to expire, and he wasn’t able to continue with school. Now, had we been a straight couple, we would have easily married. We had already had a significant relationship over a length of time: there would have been no problems.
We made a decision to continue building our life together, hoping that the law would change. We co-signed leases; I made him my beneficiary on retirement and health directives. And time marched on. We decided to move to DC so that I could find work that would support us both. It was rough for both of us. He was particularly at a loss for a community to fit into in DC. It was incredibly hard on our relationship.
And still the law didn’t change.
In order to find a place where we both had opportunity, we finally moved to New York. Things have been better, but the older we get, the more we continue not to have stability. Well, I thank goodness he’s here, but I’m now in my mid-30s. Our peers are buying houses and settling down and starting families. My partner would like to open a restaurant.
We can’t have any of that damn stability! That damn American dream–because we’ve been forced into being nomads in my own country.
It’s particularly upsetting as I’m very much an American. I can trace my history not only to my immigrant great-grandparents, but also to at least one American president and none other than the man who first codified the American language: Noah Webster. I grew up in the Great Middle West, my grandparents were farmers, I attended public schools, I’ve always voted. All these things that are supposedly harbingers of our American identity, and I can’t do the one thing that I want the most and that my ancestors were able to do: marry the one I love and welcome him as a citizen of the U.S. And frankly, that’s a damn outrage.
Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people are very much Americans. We’ve toiled along with the rest of you. We share your stories. We need the same rights as other Americans–including the right to sponsor our foreign-born partners to join us as Americans.
Hi from “Two Broads Abroad” – Judy and Karin – both in our 60’s and tired of traveling because of, and being separated because of, who we are and who we love.
Judy says: I SURE GIVE A DAMN about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality! I’ve been working on it since 1973 when I finally figured out who I was and came out at age 26! As a lesbian I am DAMN tired of the discrimination we face and the unfulfilled promises of government and human rights groups, even though many changes have come about in the past 40 years. Because of the current laws in America I cannot sponsor my life partner for immigration and that means we cannot live together in our home in America as we want. She cannot visit the U.S. more than six months a year – and there is no guarantee when she comes to America that she will be allowed in! That’s DAMN unfair and stressful!
We need comprehensive immigration reform so that all families facing immigration issues are treated fairly – but especially DAMN important to us is that same sex binational couples like ours can get treated fairly. If I was a man and my partner was a woman (or vice versa) we could follow the rules and get a green card in the proper process. But DAMN! We can’t get one – I tried with my Congressman and of course I was denied.
We need UAFA – Uniting American Families Act – to pass. Or we need my Congressman’s bill RFA – Reuniting Families Act (which includes UAFA) – to pass. Then Karin and I can live in our home and travel when we want and where we want and for how long we want. DAMN! What a concept!
Because of current American law, I had to retire early from my job so I could leave the country and be with my partner. That means I had to leave other family and all my friends and even my cat behind. That’s DAMN unfair and DAMN expensive and DAMN inconvenient. GIVE A DAMN and help people like us, won’t you please? Thanks a lot!
Karin says: Excuse me, but I am nearly 70, and British . . . I don’t use language like that! But do I care? Like hell I do! (ooooops). I am so tired of having no permanent home, I want so much to be able to live with my beloved Judy. I would like to stay in one place long enough to grow vegetables and flowers. If you give a damn, too, please help us.
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According to The San Francisco Chronicle: "Citing the Defense of Marriage Act, the Obama administration denied immigration benefits ...Author: Admin
Join our friends at Immigration Equality urge President Obama to stop separating loving bi-national gay couples by signing their ...Author: Admin
Because our country’s immigration system does not allow gay Americans to sponsor their partners for U.S. residency, many couples are forced to split or consider drastic life changes, such as an international move.