Monday, April 05, 2010
When it comes to gay and lesbian marriage, Iowa works. Wisconsin, unfortunately, does not.
Joey and Gabi, whose relationship bridges the Atlantic, were married Friday in a magistrate's office in Dubuque, Iowa. They are so clearly in love, and it was a moving experience for those of us lucky enough to be there to see them make this commitment to share their lives. (Click on the photo above to go to Flickr if you want to see links to more wedding pictures.)
After the wedding, we took a photo by this sign because the headline seemed so appropriate. Gay and lesbian marriage has been legal in Iowa since August, 2007. If this led to a decline in moral standards or any of the other ill effects feared by opponents, it sure hasn't been visible. While Wisconsin recognizes civil unions, that's not the same. Wisconsin, sadly, banned same-sex marriage by constitutional amendment in 2006.
Worst of all is the situation in regard to same-sex marriage and immigration. While Joey and Gabi's marriage is recognized in the UK, Canada and most of Western Europe, it doesn't work the other way around. Married to a European, Joey can work in the European countries that recognize gay marriage, but it's impossible for Gabi to live and work work in the U.S. as she could if she had married a guy. The (ironically named) 1996 Defense of Marriage Act prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriage, which is interpreted as including immigration. Currently, an estimated 60,000 couples are caught in this dilemma.
U.S. immigration policy is in need of many reforms. This should be high on the list.