On the 6th December 2006 I entered into a civil partnership with Simon. It was about a year after the UK made such an option open to us. I encountered the immigration officer years later as I became an immigration advocate in the UK. He indicated to me that my proposed civil partnership visa was the first one he had ever issued. I am now a UK citizen and after having been “together” as a couple for 6 years, Simon and I have spent another 6 years with full legal benefits akin to marriage as we have lived in the UK.
While it wasn’t the only factor, the main factor is the reality that under current laws, Simon has no legal right to be in the USA. We could have easily have settled in the US and continued down the path of being a net positive to the economy in the US. No matter what the “sanctity of marriage” means, we have been a couple for well over a decade now. We both earn substantially above average salaries and fully pay our taxes. We don’t hold hands or kiss in public. Very few people would assume we were a gay couple. We live our lives for ourselves and make sure we contribute to society appropriately. We are a positive influence on our family and friends. On the 6 December 2006 the world did not stop rotating on its axis. Society did not fall apart. No one even noticed, except for the two of us our family and the lovely lady who was the Lambeth Registrar.
We are still ostracised from the US. The North Carolina vote hurts. It says to us “we don’t care how much of positive contribution you are to society, we don’t want you and we want to treat you like you are second class citizens.” People run around and say “we don’t want to give ‘special rights’ to the gays.” All of this is thinly veiled rhetoric that says “we don’t like gays and we are going to stick our noses in your lives to make ourselves feel better.” I would much rather have people say what they mean, like Pastor Sean Harris, because people can easily identify the bigots for what they are.
So President Obama, I am glad your thoughts have evolved, but until there is legislation on the books that allows immigration based on our relationship at a federal level, your views have not evolved enough.