Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Watch this video, and you'll see why the USA's treatment of bi-national gay couples is, as US Rep. Jerrold Nadler called it, gratuitous cruelty. IF the US Supreme Court strikes down the infamous and blatantly unconstitutional Defense [sic] of Marriage Act, then legally married same-gender couples like David and Jason in this video will be treated equally by US immigration law. It will be an important FIRST step, but only that. The USA needs comprehensive immigration reform that includes LGBT people.
But if the Court doesn't strike down DOMA, then we are left waiting for Congress to repeal it, and since supporting DOMA (and being against marriage equality in general, too) is still a requirement for all Republican congressional and presidential candidates, this means it won't happen any time soon. That's why so much is riding on the Court's decision, and why it matters so much.
As long-time readers of this blog of course know, the USA's anti-gay immigration stance is why I moved to New Zealand in 1995, the year before DOMA (although marriage wasn't legal for same gender couples anywhere in the world at the time). Leaving the USA was the only way Nigel and I could be together because New Zealand recognised same-gender couples for immigration even back then—ten years before civil unions came to NZ, and some 18 years before marriage equality in NZ. Nearly 18 years later, US immigration policy is still the same—no, actually, it’s even worse because of DOMA.
So, when DOMA is finally struck down or repealed, life will get much better for legally married bi-national gay couples. But without comprehensive immigration reform, unmarried gay couples (like Nigel and I were in 1995) will face the same separation or exile that all gay couples do now. And it will still be legal to discriminate against LGBT single people.
I am NOT an absolutist: I want DOMA gone so married same-gender couples can have the same immigration rights—along with the other 1100-odd rights from marriage—as married opposite-gender couples. It’s just that getting rid of DOMA is not enough.
But, it’s a start.
For more information from the people behind the video, check out The DOMA Project.