"Hey American ... Hey American Lady.... " A man with a very thick middle Eastern accent approached us. "Hey you are American? I will marry you for for $40,000" As my girlfriend (later to become my wife) and I walked along the streets of Amsterdam fourteen years ago, this offer shocked me and made me uncomfortable. I chuckled and said something about the guy being desperate. Today, sadly, I understand this man's desperation all too well.
Today, NEW YORK celebrated Marriage Equality. It was so very bittersweet. I looked at all the pictures and had tears in my eyes for happiness for these couples.
Today, a friend of mine will leave her country in Europe and come for a short visit here in the United States. She will visit the love of her life. She will have to leave in three months and go back to her country of origin and leave her life partner....because there is no equality for us.
Even if every single state in the Union and Puerto Rico were to legalize Marriage Equality...to legalize Same Sex Marriage, it would not help bi-national same sex couples...not one little bit. Immigration is under Federal law and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is the law of the land. If we could get the Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) passed or the Uniting American Families Act. (UAFA) Now that is something that would remedy the situation and give us the freedom to be able to hold our loved ones in our arms...just to be able to be with them...
In the last year, two of my friends who are in a bi-national relationship will have in the last year, only spent 14 days together. How is this justice?
Please read my friends stories. Their courage to share what they are going through and their strength inspire me.
A lot of my bi-national friends are legally married, however because of DOMA and because of unjust immigration laws, it does not matter. Legally, we are not allowed to be together. Please, if immigration by some other way, along some other avenue were possible, all of these bi-national couples would have done it already.
Please celebrate Marriage Equality in New York and know our hearts rejoice with yours. Please understand that we still are apart from our husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, life partners and we have no legal avenue to get our spouses here. We need DOMA repealed and we need it done soon. We also need the Uniting American Families Act passed. We should have the right to sponsor our partners for immigration.