Citizenship Denied: DOMA, Immigration, and Gay Marriage

While President Obama theoretically endorsed same-sex marriage in mid-2012, the fact is that the Defense of Marriage Act still remains the law of the land. And when it comes to immigration policy, this law continues to put bi-national same-sex couples in a bind.

Reason TV profiled one such couple, Hope Hall, an American citizen and military veteran, and her Canadian partner and soon-to-be wife Nathalie Gaulthier, who runs an internationally renowned circus arts school and has spent 17 years living and working in the U.S. Though marriage is often the one reliable path to citizenship for many straight couples, the Defense of Marriage Act prohibits United States Immigration and Citizenship Services from granting the same legal rights to gay couples, even those married in a state where gay marriage is legal. 

"I could just lie to the government and marry a man," says Gaulthier. "But I don't want to lie. I want to be honest."

About 6:52.

Written and Edited by Zach Weissmueller. Interviews by Kennedy. Camera by Paul Detrick and Weissmueller. 

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  • Paul.||

    bi-national same-sex couples in a bind.

    It's identity politics all the way down.

    And is just me, or has Reason's site gone a bit Mammaries North on the commenting today?

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's not just you.

  • T o n y||

    The problems of nonheterosexual/nonwhite/nonmale people is just identity politics.

  • Paul.||

    Point missed! Schwing!

  • sarcasmic||

    Circus arts are so gay.

  • kinnath||

    Remember children, green cards only go to couples with prick and a twat.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    The girl on the right has nice arms.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Shorter DOMA: "PWND!"

  • logical||

    move to Canada!!

  • ||

    Because it's totally just and fair that you get to jump the line in front of thousands of immigrants waiting for legal status because you chose to have sex exclusively with an American citizen. As always, the problem couldn't possibly be that marriage is a piece of shit institution that enshrines the power of state in our everyday lives. Nope, the problem is that not enough people get the chance to fellate the state in exchange for privileges denied to their fellow citizens.

  • d||

    And here I thought I was the only one not giant-pink-elephant-in-the-room blind. This gets to the larger point of how much Reason's (and others') push for same-sex marriage just shores up the crap federal institution of marriage. If I were a gay man, I would be glad not to be expected to sign over half of my belongings (or more, if children are involved) to my partner just for the privilege of proving that I'm "committed".

    Get the state the hell out of marriage and a whole host of fair and far superior marriage contract templates will take its place. (Also for paternity and child support, I might add. And, no, I'm not divorced, and my children are biologically mine.)

  • R. Franklin Carter||

    Reply to logical:

    I'm a Canadian and I had that thought too. "Why do you have to own and operate a circus school in the United States?" The two of them could do what they're doing in Canada. They could be just as successful, and I don't think there would be any serious obstacles.

  • Nicholas Card||

    Tax, weather, politics, location, community support, access to labor, cost of labor, access to and cost of appropriate facilities.

    There are a lot of reasons why people choose to live in one place over another. Though if I had to pick just one, I'd guess it's weather.

  • Hneckone||

    "I could just lie to the government and marry a man," says Gaulthier. "But I don't want to lie. I want to be honest."

    Glad to hear she doesn't want to put a US citizen in serious jeopardy. Perhaps she's not familiar our federal code:

    "An individual who knowingly enters into a marriage for the purpose of evading any provision of the immigration laws shall be imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or fined not more than $250,000, or both."

    Not to mention that if she were caught, she would be deported and barred from entry to the US for up to 10 years.

  • Slocum||

    This is just so many kinds of wrong and stupid. Completely apart from the issue of gay marriage, what kind of dumbass country doesn't offer citizenship to somebody as successful and productive as this woman!?

  • Libertarian Barbarian||

    I find it hard to believe that this so called world class trapeze artist/gymnast/whatever is as overweight as she is. Taking a class from her on gymnastics would be like taking a class on entreprenuerism from a guy who drives a 93 Honda Accord.

  • d||

    Hmmm. Maybe we should rethink the policy of only letting people sponsor their family members. Think of it: if a legal person is willing to shell out, say, $10,000 to sponsor you and you pass a background check, then you get to come and work.

    This will turn the immigration tide in favor of people who are here to contribute and pursue their own lives, not only preferring those who are here work for shit wages that are slightly better (given the cost of living) than what they could get in their socialist hellholes and then draw social benefits (I'm including schools, WIC, etc. in this) that far outweigh their contribution to the funding of said benefits. Short of an anarcho-capitalist paradise, this is perhaps the only way to ramp up immigration without breaking the bank.

    (And, no, I'm not saying that the average citizen even comes close to funding public schools with their taxes, but at least they are in the same ballpark.)

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