Recently, Justin and I have been discussing more and more about getting married. A few months ago Corey and Danielle announed that they were getting married next September 25. I am very happy for them and glad that Danielle will become part of the family.
The talk of marriage brought me back to wanting to get married to Justin. Sadly, because of the state of the country and with the current laws, that’s not quite as simple for us. Along with getting married to really express our love for each other, we thought that it be good for his future also in that it may help when he graduates in order to try and stay in the USA.
However, our dreams were pretty much crushed this weekend when we started looking into things far more closely.
Justin found an article on the HRC site which, although fairly old (2003), does provide a basic understanding of what will happen if we get married with the current law situation. Basically, sure, you can get married. However, because the F1 visa is a temporary visa issued with the intent of the foreign person returning back to their country of origin to apply their learning, getting married risks nullifying that visa as it would be very obvious that the intent to return no longer exists. Also, it places heavy risk on ever getting said visa renewed in the future. Why should they renew the visa when you’re obviously not going to want to come back to apply what you’ve learned?
The solution to this is to become a resident, citizen or an immigrant. However, after research into these vectors it was found to be impossible (or nearly so) as well. The end result of this line of research is that the only way that Justin could get a immigrant visa number (required) is either through a relative or through employer. If obtained through a specific relative (who must be a US citizen), then a number is instantly issued after the application is accepted. Depending on other relation or employer, etc, a number may not be issued for several years as only a specific number are issued per year per country of origin. The massive downside to being gay comes back to a four-letter acronym that conjures up feelings of disgust and anger amongst many – DOMA (Defense Of Marriage Act). Through the terminology which is defined by DOMA, a marriage is defined as a legal union between one man and one woman. A spouse is a person engaged in the defined marriage, which explicitly denies same-sex marriages. Regardless of whether marriage between same-sex individuals is allowed at a state-level, DOMA, on the federal level, over-rides state-level marriages in terms of immigration law, taxes, etc. Therefore, even if we got married in one of the several states which now allows it (Iowa is supposedly the easiest state in which to get married), it wouldn’t matter because of federal DOMA. Going back, the only option available then is through an employer which is highly unlikely given the current economic status, plus the fact that Justin is in the middle of his PhD program and won’t be done for approximately three more years.
Since DOMA is the problem, it would seem then that the solution is to get rid of it. The law was created in 1996 under the Clinton Administration. Although Former-President Bill Clinton did support gays, he was vocally opposed to same-sex marriage, hence the signing of DOMA into law. Earlier this year, on June 12, the Obama Administration upheld DOMA in a lawsuit filed by a same-sex couple in California. However, just last week the Commonwealth of Massachusetts filed a lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services et al regarding the discriminatory issues of DOMA. Hopefully this case will be able to push DOMA out of existence as it’s cases like this that provide the only chance for me to truly be with Justin in the USA. Land of the free? Apparently not if you like the same sex…