Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Gay Exodus

Tara Siegel Bernard of The New York Times wrote an article yesterday about the growing number of LGBT couples who are leaving the country because the United States refuses to recognize their unions.  Even LGBT couples are married in one of the states (or Washington, DC) that offer same-sex marriage, the federal government refuses to acknowledge our relationships. Also, because the US won't recognize these unions, immigrant partners of Americans find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to obtain US citizenship.

Below you'll find an edited version of Ms. Bernard's article:

Many same-sex couples who decide to leave the United States head for countries that recognize their unions. In fact, when we wrote a story about the extra costs same-sex couples face here in America, we learned that many leave because of immigration obstacles.

Several readers left comments stating that they could not sponsor their same-sex partners for American citizenship — so they decided to migrate to places like Canada, where it’s easier to gain permanent resident status for couples since only one partner has to qualify. Besides, gay marriage is recognized there.

David Cohen, a senior partner at Campbell Cohen, an immigration law firm in Montreal, said he had seen a significant increase in the number of same-sex couples who emigrated from the United States to Canada over the last 10 years.

The following readers, who commented on our October story about the costs of being gay, echoed those sentiments:

Rich and Luis, of Vancouver, wrote:

Heterosexuals can sponsor their partners to become U.S. permanent residents; same-sex couples cannot. My now-husband and I had to move to Canada to stay together. We were both professionals in our native countries. Now my husband, a medical technologist, is working at Staples, and I’m making $25,000 less annually with poor benefits at a temporary job with no job security, although at least the job is in my field. It was expensive to become permanent residents, and the move was expensive, as are trips back to see my family.

Megan, of Canada, said:

Try being a bi-national gay couple. We have paid over $70,000 to be together. My partner is Indian and I am American and yet we have to live in Canada if we are to be together.

And Rebecca, of New Jersey:

My wife and I have been together for 5 years and I am in the process of becoming a Canadian permanent resident so that we can live in the same country. It has cost nearly $10,000 so far.
 I've written about this before, but it's worth repeating: how many times in United States history have people fled the country for greater freedom elsewhere?  Haven't we prided ourselves as being the place where people are drawn to because offer a freer life?

No comments:

Post a Comment