Binational Gay Family Exiled to UK Urges Government To Grant Humanitarian ParoleSubmitted by ACinMA on Fri, 03/08/2013 - 11:08
Seven years ago, my sister and her wife were exiled from this country because of laws written which did not grant her wife, who is an English citizen, the right to stay in this country once married. A right given to nearly all straight married binational couples but not same sex couples, they were forced to leave us and move across the ocean. My sister, a libertarian leaning liberal, understands my belief that there should be no law regulating any marriage between 2 consenting adults, but she has chosen a different political route to try to legally come back to the country that she wishes to raise her family in. Heres her story:
My name is Sarah. I’m 33 years old and a former resident of Tiverton, Rhode Island. I grew up in Rhode Island and attended Tiverton public schools from kindergarten until my graduation from Tiverton High in 1997. I went to Rhode Island College for four years as an Elementary Education major with a focus on children with Special Needs. I worked for Girl Scouts of Rhode Island (GSRI) every summer for almost 10 years and did hundreds, possibly thousands – I never counted, hours of volunteer work for GSRI as well.
It was through my work with Girl Scouts that I met my wife, Emma. In 2001 Emma, who is a British citizen, worked for the summer at Camp Hoffman in Kingston, Rhode Island. I was also working there as a lifeguard. We spent the summer as co-workers, and towards the end of her time in the States we grew close. When the camp closed for the summer in August, she spent the next two months living with me and my family until her visa expired in October. After an extremely emotional and teary departure that month, we knew that this was a relationship we would try anything to continue. Through letters, emails, and phone calls our relationship grew, and for the next 4 years, we spent all our spare money flying back and forth over the “pond” to see each other as often as possible.
I spent summers here in England, meeting her friends and family, only to have to return back to Tiverton to be back at my job in the schools I was working in. She would use up all of her vacation days at work to spend time with my family and me back in the States. In 2005, after years of very-long-distance relationship work, we had decided that we needed to either move to be with each other, or end the relationship that we had strived to build. We discussed it, and decided it would be best if Emma moved to America.
It never crossed my mind that it wouldn’t be possible due to the fact that we are gay. I learned that immigration rights are a federal issue, and even if we could get married in the State of Rhode Island, with a certificate just as any other married couple had, we would not be eligible for a spousal visa.