Monday, June 13, 2011

Q: Has there been any progress for Binational Gay Couples?

This morning I logged onto FaceBook to find a chat message from reader Ronald Abastas who asked if there has been anything new to report for same-sex couples who are facing deportation of the foreign-born partner. Unfortunately, in my groggy, coffee-deprived state, I closed the chat window when I noticed the friend was offline, but I thought I would post the answer here.

Because of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), American-born LGBT's cannot sponsor their immigrant partners for citizenship, the way that married heteros can, even if they are legally married in their home state.

Back in May, a gay couple facing the deportation of the non-American born partner, were granted a deferment based on the Obama administration's decision not to defend DOMA in court, due to the president's and attorney general's stated belief that the law is unconstitutional. The judge in the case made it clear that the ruling applies only in this case.

Activists have been calling on the White House to issue a moratorium on deportations in these cases until the Supreme Court has a chance to rule on the constitutionality of DOMA. There are currently nine challenges working their ways through the courts.

Metro Weekly gave an update last Wednesday: Asked today to explain the difference between a 2009 moratorium on deporting certain widows and widowers of U.S. citizens and the White House's failure to take up advocates' request that a similar moratorium be issued to stop the deportation of the foreign same-sex partner of U.S. citizens, White House press secretary Jay Carney provided no direct answer -- only reiterating the president's support for comprehensive immigration reform and belief it can happen "in the future."

So the administration is once again dragging its feet on our issues. Are you beginning to see a pattern here? Talk the talk, but only walk the walk when the timing is right, like not too early in the first two years, but not during a two-year election cycle either.

The Administration wants to include the issue of binational LGBT couples as part of an overall immigration reform package, but with the GOP controlling the House, it's not likely to happen this year. The Dems are banking on "voters' remorse" to retake congress next year. For the time being it looks like we're in for more of the same old, same old.

Thanks again for the excellent question!
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