Friday, November 26, 2010

Bureaucracy at play

Same-sex marriage is legal in five states apparently, in the USA.

But it is not recognised at a federal level with regards to immigration and therefore a US citizen who may be married to someone from another country cannot currently sponsor his or her same-sex spouse under the spousal visa route.

Seems a bit mad to me.  And unfair.  I was reading this article today on the BBC website.

Having been through an immigration process to move to Canada from England, I fully understand a country's need to only allow who it wants to live there.  I have no issue with this in principle.

But to have two different layers of what is or is not a marriage/spouse, etc, sounds like the wheels of bureaucracy grinding slower than a slow grinding thing.  The Defense of Marriage Act defines marriage for federal purposes as a union between a man and a woman, and was brought in to law in 1996 - that is not very long ago.    So really, it was out of date at it's inception.

The US immigration authorities are perhaps (in)famous for interviewing and scrutinizing male/female couples to verify they are "really" a couple and that it is not a marriage of convenience.

I suppose if this same-sex campaign to have their marriages recognised is eventually successful, then the next thing they can look forward to will be similar scrutiny to prove they are "really" gay! 

(steps off soap-box and proposes to look up the state of play in the UK and Canada just out of interest!)


  1. We all have to adhere to the same income tax laws--we should therefore all have the same right to a federally-recognized legal union! I remember when gay marriage was being passed into law here. Every bigot and religious zealot had a furious letter to the editor published. Half a decade down the road, I can't see that it's created even one problem for our country.

  2. The U.S. Defense of Marriage Act was enacted in 1996 to deliberately exclude any possibility of gay marriage being federally recognized. It is homophobic legislation specifically designed to impede equality, rather than simply being out of date.

    Canadian law is much more enlightened -- the availability of gay marriage means that a gay person can sponsor a same-sex partner from a foreign country. But you're right -- the next level of scrutiny is to make sure the couple is really gay and really a couple.

  3. Kafka's nightmare goes on and on and on...