By Kris Bass
It’s coincidental that I am posting this around the time President Obama is visiting India for his 10-day South East Asia tour. This is just after the mid-term elections in the US during which the Republicans, helped by the Boston Tea Party, gained many seats to assume majority in the House. The failure of Obama, and the Democrats in general, is considered to be due to his failure to pull back the economy on right track, unemployment, and the medical policy.
I am not a citizen of the United States. Yet, I follow the various developments in the States scrupulously. Why? Because, in one way or the other, the Federal Government’s policies are responsible for the situation my life is in right now. I’m talking about its stand on immigration equality for same-sex partners. My life was turned upside down because I couldn’t be with Vinokur, a citizen of the United States. Despite us being partners for life and having being almost engaged to each other, I couldn’t be with him in the States in the first place, which forced him to consider visiting me during a time when his health was not at its best. Now having been separated, Vinokur has found a new partner and has moved on.
Why am I bringing this up now? Because I know of another beautiful couple who are facing separation because the Indian partner being denied a visa to stay in the States. My friend Danny from the state of California, which has illegalized same-sex marriages after a brief period of legalization, had met his Indian partner a few years back, when he was graduating at the University. In a year’s time, they met each other and moved in with each other in Danny’s home. Danny’s boyfriend later found a job and had started working there.
Three weeks back, the couple flew to Canada to visit the US embassy in Montreal to renew Danny’s boyfriend’s visa. They stayed there for a week but the embassy delayed proceedings by asking for more documentation. Danny flew back to California and sent his boyfriend’s laptop and the necessary documentation. Danny’s boyfriend waited in a rented hotel room in Toronto for a positive message from the embassy for a few more days. After seeing no signs of reply, he decided to fly back to India.
At this particular moment, Danny is not sure whether his boyfriend will ever be able to come back to the US. Danny is crushed and his life is shattered. Of course, the couple did not bring up the same-sex nature of the relationship to the embassy. But had there been an already existing law which allowed immigration rights to same-sex partners of US citizens, things could have been so different.
These are just two stories from thousands of other broken relationships and families. It’s time that Obama and the Federal Government took actions to grant equal rights to partners of same-sex couples. Even though I cannot directly help organizations like Immigration Equality, and Human Rights Campaign, I’m morally with them on these issues, and given the slightest chance, would help them in any way that I can.