No Limitation

Gays and lesbians ecstatic: US okays visa petitions for same sex marriages

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With the recent ruling a few days ago by the US Supreme Court that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, President Barrack Obama directed federal agencies to implement policies consistent with the ruling. This includes immigration benefits for alien spouses in same sex marriages.

In accordance with this directive, Homeland Security Department Secretary Janet Napolitano immediately announced: “I have directed the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to review immigrant visa petitions filed on behalf of a  same sex spouse in the same manner as those filed on behalf of an opposite sex spouse.”

Essentially, this means that for all practical purposes, even for non-immigrant visas, same sex marriage alien spouses will have the same equal benefits as opposite sex alien spouses:  Working Visas, Investors Visas, Exchange Visitors Visas, Entertainers Visas, Religious Visas, etc.

In removal cases in Immigration Court, alien respondents who are the same sex spouses of US citizens may use their marital relationship as a defense utilizing it for various applications for relief from deportation (removal) when applicable.

Interspersed with joyful “Hallelujahs!” from the gay and lesbian communities throughout the United States are groans from conservative Christians of “The world must be coming to an end,” citing “Sodom and Gomorrah” biblical passages and various fear filled interpretations.

It might not be the end of the world but it certainly is the beginning of a new one. What the short and long term effects will be of this dramatic Supreme Court ruling not only on immigration but also on social, religious and other issues affecting American society – only time will tell. Many countries look up to the US as a model and will also be influenced by this development.

When I did the successful gay asylum case in court about three years ago for Philip Belarmino, a gay professor from the Philippines which hit the front pages of the world’s newspapers, it seemed unthinkable then that in due time, same sex marriages can be used to petition for spouses. It was almost impossible to win these gender based asylum cases. Now with all these legal immigration benefits for alien same sex marriages, the availability of defenses in Immigration Court for same sex spouses of US citizens will surely expand.

But it should be understood that immigration benefits will be available to same sex alien spouses of US citizens if their marriage took place in a state or country where same sex marriages are considered legal.

A nice gay US citizen man immediately consulted with me when he learned of Napolitano’s directive. He wanted his long-time boyfriend in the Philippines who could not get a visa to migrate to the US. When I explained that the new USCIS policy (re: same sex marriages) does not mean that he could marry his boyfriend in the Philippines and then file an immigrant visa petition for him, he was on the verge of crying. Such a marriage could not be used because same sex marriages are not legal in the Philippines.

But he came out of my office ecstatic and crying with joy when I told him that he could file a fiancée visa petition for his boyfriend.  Under the new USCIS policies consistent with the Supreme Court decision and the directive of Secretary Napolitano, though yet untested, it is likely that the fiancée visa petition will be approved.  If so, the boyfriend can come to the US in a few months and then they can get married here in California where same sex marriages are legal after which the guy would get his immigrant visa.

My client now goes around excitedly telling everyone I’m the best immigration lawyer in the world. I told him to hold off with his hosannas until we get his petition approved. But lawyers, doctors and other professionals should not be shy about their proven competence. Humility is not a virtue when it’s false and prevents one from helping people. On the other hand, I can’t even take good pictures with a point and shoot. But I am sincerely happy for him and others similarly situated whose lives will be enriched by this Supreme Court decision.

To gays and lesbians all over the United States, congratulations on this great victory. It will certainly affect the life of the nation and the personal lives of so many. May this major development be a real blessing, enhance true love in relationships, bring real happiness – and help in creating a better world for all. God loves all human beings.

Note: The California State Bar honors San Francisco based human rights lawyer Atty. Ted Laguatan as one of the best immigration lawyers in the US officially certifying him continuously for almost 25 years now as an Expert-Specialist on Immigration Law. Only 29 lawyers have been given this distinction.  He also does accident injuries and wrongful death cases. For communications: (San Francisco area) 455 Hickey Blvd. Ste. 516, Daly City, Ca 94015; Tel 650-991-1154 Fax 650-991-1186 Email laguatanlaw@gmail.com

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • The Factory

    LOVE IS LOVE. And God loves ALL human beings.

    This is in no way or form a travesty or a perversion.

    This is about LOVE and EQUALITY. This is about HUMAN RIGHTS. And if you can’t deal with it, then go move to another country or state. Be on the right side of history!

    • riza888

      Maybe you should move to another country if you’re in the US. Inflammatory, bigoted, racists comments are protected by the first amendment. Only threats or calls for violence are not.

      • The Factory

        Inflammatory, bigoted and racists comments MAKE YOU A BIGOT and a RACIST. And yes you are protected by the 1st amendment… There is no argument about that. BUT WHY ON EARTH would you want to be LABELED a RACIST and a BIGOT?? Doesn’t make sense. But then again to each his own.

        Spreading love here boys and girls NOT HATE…

      • riza888

        It’s relative. I’m not considered a bigot to those who support traditional marriage. I don’t hate you. And I certainly don’t call someone a bigot if they don’t have my same beliefs.

        Aren’t you practicing reverse bigotry, yourself – just because I don’t share and agree with your beliefs? The definition of bigotry or discrimination don’t indicate that they go one way or the other.

        It cuts both ways.

      • The Factory

        If you are in the minority and feel that your rights are not being recognized or feel that you are treated unjustly because you are, let’s say, part of the LGBT community or a RACIAL minority, then you have to make a stand to get your voice heard, so you can make right what you feel is wrong in society (think civil rights movement, women’s rights movement, Stonewall, etc.). I don’t think it is reverse discrimination because you are trying to make a case for EQUALITY…esp. within the context of this discussion/issue. You WANT the SAME RIGHTS as those IN the MAJORITY. However, I do agree with you that it goes both ways if you want to get really technical with the semantics. But that’s not what we are talking about here.

        Is it a difference in opinion? Absolutely. Everyone has their own belief systems. Many people believe in a traditional marriage between a man and a woman, and I RESPECT that, but do I agree with it? No. I myself am a heterosexual woman and married to a heterosexual man, but I am also not against same sex marriages. Anyone should be able to marry whoever they love. And everyone should have the SAME ACCESS to marriage including every benefit that goes with it.

      • magsasakasanayon

        no, man, however you look at it, you’re just a bigot; i.e., an ignorant savage.

  • Johnby

    To Milacuna,

    I read your first and second posts and this article again. Nowhere does Laguatan say that God approves of the Supreme Court ruling. Neither does the author say that it’s okay with God even if one engages in wrongdoing. All that the author is saying is that God loves all human beings including gays and lesbians.

    Not only are you adding twisted meanings here which were never intended but your posts are full of malice and resentments. Even if you say you are not prejudiced against gays and lesbians, it’s obvious that you are.

    Anyway, I wish you the best and hope you to be more kind and have more honest statements.

    • Hfxwst

      Whose God are you speaking of? The Catholic one? If so, be advised not all Filipinos are Catholic, nor share Catholic beliefs. Government legislation must be made free of religious bias, or non Catholics will have to seek human rights remedy from the USA, United Nations and other world agencies.

      We do not wish to become a Catholic extremist Country like some Islamic extremist countries.

  • Johnby

    To Hfxwst,

    Which Catholics do you know who are extremists who behead people who don’t believe as they and who bomb and kill innocent civilians?

    In fact, an extremist Catholic, is one of the finest human beings on earth. He strictly follows the teachings of Jesus Christ, loving and forging his fellowmen as Christ commanded him to do. In the Vatican, he is known by another term: Saint.

    • magsasakasanayon

      Jesus was tolerant and kind even to the sinners, while Catholics condemn those who do not conform with their beliefs. Please don’t ever use the words “Catholics” and “Jesus Christ” in the same sentence again.

  • lapasan

    The United States is the modern site of Sodom and Gomorrah. Filipinos should join hands to oppose same sex marriage if a bill is filed in congress for it. Same sex marriage is against Filipino culture. It is also against the teachings of major religions in the Philippines like Christianity and Islam.

    • magsasakasanayon

      haha. the US has one of the highest standards of living in the world. the Philippines, on the other hand, is just the “Gates of Hell.”

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