Family "De-Unification" in the United States: International Law Encourages Immigration Reform for Same-Gender Binational Partners

By Miluso, Bonnie | The George Washington International Law Review, January 1, 2004 | Go to article overview

Family "De-Unification" in the United States: International Law Encourages Immigration Reform for Same-Gender Binational Partners


Miluso, Bonnie, The George Washington International Law Review


I. INTRODUCTION

In 1982 the Ninth Circuit decided that the same-sex1 marriage between Anthony Sullivan, a U.S. citizen, and Richard Adams, an alien, did not qualify Adams as Sullivan's spouse for immigration purposes.2 In Adams v. Howerton, the court held that Congress did not intend that homosexual marriages would confer "spouse" status under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)3 and that such a limitation did not violate the Fifth Amendment requirement of equal protection.4

Twenty-two years after Adams, no judicial decision has substantively changed the law on same-gender partner immigration, although Congress reaffirmed and broadened this holding by passing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)5 in 1996, deciding that "the word 'marriage' in all acts of Congress means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word 'spouse' refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife."6 Congress incorporated DOMA's discriminatory definition of "marriage" into the INA via DOMA's own incorporation provision.7 Most recently, to combat the increasing support for same-gender marriages in several cities and counties throughout the United States, Congress and President George W. Bush are pushing the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would constitutionally restrict marriage to a union between one man and one woman.8

In an effort to combat this discriminatory treatment against legitimate same-gender binational couples,9 Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York introduced the Permanent Partners Immigration Act (PPIA) to the U.S. House of Representatives on February 14, 2000, again on February 14, 2001, and most recently on February 13, 2003.10 The PPIA would amend the INA to provide a mechanism for U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to sponsor their same-gender permanent partners for residence in the United States.11 Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont introduced the same bill in the U.S. Senate on July 31, 2003.12 As of March 2004, only 120 representatives signed the PPIA in the House of Representatives and the Senate bill had only eleven signatories.13

Despite the seemingly anti-homosexual rights trend that has persisted in the federal government, Vermont passed legislation in 2000 permitting same-sex civil unions14 in accordance with the landmark Vermont Supreme Court decision, Baker v. State.15 Similarly, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decided on November 18, 2003, that same-sex couples have the right to marry in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health.16 Normally the doctrine of lex loci celebrationis applies to a marriage, whereby the law of the forum where the marriage occurred determines the questions regarding the formalities of a marriage.17 With DOMA in force and unchallenged, however, neither the U.S. government nor other states have been required to recognize the Vermont civil unions or future gay marriages in Massachusetts for any purpose, especially for immigration purposes.18 Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Congress has only tightened restrictions on immigration.19 Despite the federal government's immigration slogan of "family reunification,"20 same-gender binational couples have been forced to separate, leave the United States, or live as outlaws because of the United States' narrow interpretation of what constitutes a "family."21

So has Vermont's civil union statute or the new marriage decision in Massachusetts changed anything for same-gender binational partners trying to immigrate to the United States since Adams v. Howertoni If Adams and Sullivan were to obtain a civil union in Vermont today and then reapply for a spouse visa, Adams would still be deported.22 Currently, however, at least fifteen countries around the world recognize same-gender couples for immigration purposes, generally through same-gender marriages, registered partnerships, or civil unions. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Family "De-Unification" in the United States: International Law Encourages Immigration Reform for Same-Gender Binational Partners
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.