Wednesday, August 07, 2013

This Is What Equality Looks Like

Another reason to celebrate the death of the Defense of Marriage Act [DOMA] is that, in the olden days, the American citizen half of a straight binational couple—one spouse an American citizen, the other a foreign-born person—could sponsor their spouse for citizenship; it was that easy. Not so much for gay and lesbian binational couples. Even with marriage equality becoming law in several states, same-sex binational couples often faced the threat of deportation of the foreign born spouse because we did not have the same rights as our straight counterparts.

Now it’s a new day. And with the death of DOMA, gay and lesbian binational couples can now sponsor their spouses for a Green card with an end game of citizenship, just like Becky and Sanne.

The two women were married in the Netherlands, but live in North Carolina. And even though, back in 2012, North Carolina voters approved of their state’s anti-LGBT ‘Amendment 1’—which banned the state from performing, and even recognizing, same-sex marriages or civil unions—this past week when Becky and Sanne arrived at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services [USCIS] offices in Charlotte, North Carolina, they were treated like any other married couple.

The USCIS officer reviewed their relationship, from its beginnings in India, through time spent in Africa, Belgium, The Netherlands and now North Carolina, and he was satisfied that Becky and Sanne had provided sufficient evidence that they were legally married, and he reopened their previously denied green card application.

At the end of the interview, the USCIS Officer announced that Sanne was now a lawful permanent resident of the United States; and just 75 minutes after the interview began, the USCIS ordered production of the actual green card which is expected to come by mail sometime next week.

There are those that say the fight for marriage equality is a fight for ‘special’ rights, but the story of Becky and Sanne illustrates that really all we want is the same rights as our straight counterparts. We’d like to be married; we’d like our marriages recognized; we, like most people, want our marriages celebrated.

No more, no less; just equal.


Anonymous said...

This is awesome to see. Now we need to see this happen in all 50 states.

the dogs' mother said...

Loves the smiles. :-)

My brother and I both have ancient paperwork about our citizenship(s) in fireproof safes since 9/11. Doubt Canada will ever become a bad neighbor but since Justin Bieber you never know...

Greg said...

That's great news...and that it happened in The South is even more impressive.

Biki Honko said...

Wonderful, wonderful. It's amazing how quickly the death of some of DOMA has led to change. If only ALL of DOMA had been struck down.