Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Holidays for Bi-National Same Sex Couples

As the holidays draw close, most people's thoughts turn to spending time with their loved ones, Christmas shopping and presents, large meals and family time.  For the 40,000 plus bi-national same sex couples, (estimated from the 2010 US Census)  the holidays often take on a different meaning:  Lonely separation. 

My lovely friend in Colorado will celebrate Christmas with her wife via Skype.  Her wife is British and lives in the UK.  In spite of her wife's extensive education, there is no "line" at the immigration office for this bi-national couple to get into.

My very dear friend lives in California, her wife, her legal wife (married in Canada and in California) will be in England due to the United States immigration discriminatory laws. These two ladies pose no threat to anyone, as a matter of fact, the Californian is a Military Veteran.  In spite of serving her country, her country refuses to acknowledge her marriage to her lovely wife from the United Kingdom.  They, too, will spend Christmas apart....touching their computer screens instead of holding each other.

 I have a friend on twitter who is struggling on telling her son (age 2) and daughter (age 6), that their "other" Mom's visa may not be renewed.  Another family separated by the so called Defense of Marriage Act and immigration discrimination.  Will they be able to watch their children open their presents....together as a family?

  Things that heterosexuals take for granted, spending holiday's with the family, watching the kids open presents, sitting around the dinner table, are things that bi-national same sex couples pray to be a reality soon.  

For a bi-national couple living exiled in New Zealand, you would think that life is perfect for them, after all, they are together legally.    Here is the two of them singing together a song that the Hoosier wrote for her New Zealand wife.  The Hoosier longs to "sit on the porch and have a beer with her dad in Indiana"     

These are just a few of my bi-national friends.  I could go on and on about friends living in exile in Canada and two other couples moving to Canada before the end of the winter season, but I won't.  I won't tell you of a lovely New York one of them is from New York the other from Italy... they struggle with issues that heterosexual couples would never even think about.  If they marry, will that cause problems with Homeland Security?  Will the New Yorker's lovely wife be "red flagged" by Homeland Security because of their marriage...even though it is legal in New York?

Think about us, think about the bi-national couples as you celebrate the holidays with your loved ones.  As you hug your sweetheart, know that others are just touching a computer screen.  As you snuggle with your children, know that bi-national couples are scared and worrying that their children will be torn from their non-US citizen parent.

There are some that live in the United States illegally, in civil disobedience, seeing this as the only option to be together.  Exile is not an option for some of these couples.  Moving to their partner's country is not an option in some of these cases.

Author, Judy Rickard, in a bi-national relationship herself, has written a book called

A repeal of DOMA needs to take place.  The passing of the Uniting American Families Act, needs to take place.  We are human beings.  We have families.  We have fallen in love with a person who is not a US Citizen.  We need to be allowed to be with our spouses...we need to be allowed to pursue our happiness.

Other Resources:
Stop the Deportations:  The DOMA Project
Immigration Equality
Lavi Soloway:  Attorney


  1. Beautifully written--brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for this. I miss my wife so, and the holidays really are painfully difficult.

  2. Thanks for this blog! My husband (Brazilian) and I moved to Brasil, as it was just to precarious and expensive to stay legal in the states. Brasil recognizes our marriage and we both have great jobs at a university... why stay in a country that doesn't welcome you? Its good out here!

    I bookmarked you at my blog:

    thanks for this space!

  3. My Husband and I live in London and will be travelling back to the US for the holidays. The most stressful part of the entire trip is always the moment we have to split off into separate lines at Immigration control, and I know that my legal spouse, despite having a valid multiple entry -tourist visa to visit the United States, could be denied entry on the basis of nothing more than some homeland security troll's personal homophobia. Well meaning but woefully uninformed friends in America ask us "Why don't you visit more often?"

    Why indeed....

  4. I am British, a gay man, a fireman for 30 years married to a gay American man who lives in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. We were married in Toronto, Canada and have a 32 year old adopted son who loves us both. Luckily, I will be with them in the US this Christmas. Being seperated for long periods of time by US imigration laws is very dificult for us too. I wish you both all the love in the world and hope that soon your seperation and ours will be a thing of the past.

  5. We will spend our third Christmas in cyberworld. My fiance lives in Germany and I am in the United States. My heart goes out to all the other binational same-sex couples this holiday season spending it alone. Let's keep our hearts open and our eyes focused on the day DOMA is repealed. Thanks for sharing, this was very well written.


  7. i am in a bi-national relationship, and looking for friends stuck in the same situation. happy to email or facebook. would be nice to have a stronger support network. would also be nice to work toward solutions to these problems. i admire all the courage i am reading on this blog. :)