Immigration overhaul could leave gay couples out
When gay couples were given the right to marry in the District earlier this year, John Beddingfield and Erwin de Leon were among those who quickly obtained marriage licenses. In April, the Woodley Park couple - who have been together for 12 years - quietly exchanged vows before a justice of the peace.Read the rest here ... but here was the "bottom line" from the end of the piece that really brings it home:
Yet even as they pledged to stand by each other in sickness and in health, Beddingfield, 46, the rector at All Souls Episcopal Church, and de Leon, 44, a doctoral student from the Philippines, were aware that their marriage still hadn't guaranteed them the same rights as heterosexual couples. The District recognizes their marriage, but the federal government does not. The country that had given de Leon a home, given him an education and given him Beddingfield would not allow him to start the process of becoming a citizen, even as it extends that benefit to the foreign-born spouses of heterosexual U.S. citizens.
Once de Leon's student visa runs out next year, he will likely be forced to join the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.
"I grew up looking to this country for its ideals and really believe strongly that it is about equality, freedom and opportunity," de Leon said. "It is too bad that a small minority - gays and lesbians - are still treated as second-class citizens.''
For Beddingfield and de Leon, the issue is personal as well as political. De Leon expects to finish his doctorate in public and urban policy in the spring. If an immigration overhaul does not allow Beddingfield to sponsor his spouse for citizenship, de Leon might be able to acquire U.S. residency through his mother.Just for the record, that pledge we say to the flag? It's "liberty and a justice for ALL." Not "liberty and justice for straight people!"
That's ironic because de Leon's mother came to the United States from the Philippines after he did. Like de Leon, she married an American, but quickly obtained legal residency because she was straight. It currently takes about 10 years for Filipinos to sponsor their children for U.S. residency. To de Leon, that's a long time to wait for a legal right he argues he should already have.
And that baptismal promise we make? The "Will you strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being?" one ...
The answer is "I will, with God's help." Not "I will if they're straight."