On the heels of the U.N. council’s resolution supporting equal rights, regardless of sexual orientation Friday, some global scenarios surrounding same-sex marriage have come to light. A significant portion of the LGBT population from the United States, more specifically those in binational couples, have and continue to relocate to more welcoming countries. In most circumstances these are less likely acts of rebellion or distaste for the Mother country, and more acts of necessity. These individuals are known as expatriates and they are a valuable part of our LGBT community.
Granted, a binational couple’s happiness and desire to cohabitate are of high priority, but an equally important consideration is finding a place to call home that will welcome both partners and recognize their relationship – regardless of where it ranks on the spectrum between dating and marriage. It is most common for each member of binational couple to relocate to a third country with gay-friendly immigration laws or accommodating visa programs, if not both. These displaced families include children, senior citizens and every combination in between. They long to be united and protected under the rights that marriage equality would afford them.
According to the Uniting American Families website, most numbers used or reported underrepresent the demographic of binational couples. As of 2009, numbers were still being loosely based on the 2000 census. Because displaced binational couples are not completing a census from outside the US, and because the census only takes an “unmarried partner” into account for the purposes of defining relationships between cohabitants, there is no accurate formula for calculating just how many couples are affected by this scenario.
A 2009 update article, based primarily on guesstimation and some previously used formulas, suggests that 51,445 binational same-sex couples reside in the US; 38,392 live abroad; 4,492 remain geographically separated by law. This adds up to a grand total estimation of 94,330 binational same-sex couples.
Because there is no federal recognition of same-sex marriage in the US, and neither civil unions nor domestic partnerships offer the same rights as marriage, these couples continue to reside in other countries because they have been denied equal rights to immigration based on who they love.
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