Friday, August 2, 2013

U.S. State Dept. will grant marriage visas to gay partners

Effects of Supreme Court's June 26 ruling extend far beyond American soil

Guadalajara -
The U.S. State Dept. announced today that the marriage visa program will be extended to same sex couples, effective immediately.

Under previous law, a foreign national lawfully married to an American citizen could use that as the basis for a visa application - provided the parties were not of the same sex.

But as the result of a June 26 ruling by the highest court in the nation, agencies and departments of the United States government may no longer discriminate in any form against the parties to a gay marriage, if the union was legally entered into in a jurisdiction which recognizes same sex unions. The U.S. Supreme Court on gay marriage.

In London secretary of state John Kerry said that "whenever a marriage takes place in a jurisdiction which recognizes it as valid, it will be so recognized under the immigration laws of the United States." Kerry added, "I'm proud to say that an unjust barrier which has been in the path of same sex families for so long is finally coming down."

In the U.S 13 states permit same sex marriage, while 37 others forbid it. Earlier this week Minnesota and Rhode Island joined the list of those which authorize it. It is also legal in the District of Columbia.

Still far from resolved in the U.S. is the question of whether states which do not permit gay marriage must recognize as valid same sex unions entered into in a state where they are - if, for example, the couple later moves to the state forbidding gay marriage. The Supreme Court did not directly address that issue, which is honeycombed with difficult legal questions.

In Mexico same sex marriage is legal in the Federal District, Quintana Roo, Oaxaca and most recently in Yucatán, by reason of a federal district court order which state authorities decided not to appeal. Yucatán federal court orders recognition of gay marriage.

In the Pacific coast state of Colima, legislators recently approved a constitutional amendment which recognizes same sex unions as entitled to legal protection. But the delegates, over objection by two PRD leftist politicians who called the measure discriminatory, refused to label such unions marriages.

Mexico's highest tribunal has been proactive in the consideration of lawsuits filed by gay marriage advocates, and is widely expected to rule that same sex unions are a guaranteed right under the federal constitution. Mexico's Supreme Court takes another step towards nationwide recognition of gay marriage. Such a decision could come at anytime.

A U.S. citizen and his or her Mexican same sex spouse who lawfully married in this country will be able to take full advantage of the new rules in petitioning the State Department for an American visa.

July 6 - Yucatecans not ready for gay marriage, says chief judge
Mar. 27 - Same sex marriage arrives at the U.S., Mexican Supreme Courts
Mar. 6 - Mexican Supreme Court: anti-gay comments are hate speech, not free speech
Oct. 4, 2012 - U.S. court finds evidence of "fundamental changes in the treatment of gays in Mexico"

© MGRR 2013. All rights reserved. This article may be cited or briefly quoted with proper attribution or a hyperlink, but not reproduced without permission.

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