Aurelio and Roy hugging

Binational gay couple to reunite, others not so lucky

Aurelio and Roy huggingThe situation for LGBT couples who are not both citizens of the same country can be difficult, particularly if one of them resides in the United States. Because the US federal government does not acknowledge same-sex marriages, and marriage is the only way you can petition for your partner to come to the US (and be allowed to stay), binational couples are often forced to live thousands of miles apart.

Roi Whaley and Aurelio Torentino are lucky. Aurelio, from the Phillipines, was recently allowed a tourist visa to travel to the US, after having been denied a green card and asylum in the past. While he won’t be able to work, Aurelio will be able to spend time with his husband Roi, who is terminally ill.

It’s only a tourist visa, it’s not permanent, and these men are the lucky ones.

There are many, many things wrong with our immigration system, and this discrimination towards LGBT couples is just another glaring example of how broken it is.

Story and photo via The Advocate.

Join the Conversation

  • Shannon Drury

    So much for our country’s sense of “family values.” You get our nation’s sympathy and help when you’re just about to die, but not earlier. Very sad.

  • Rachel Lachenauer

    I wanted to thank you for posting this short article. This is an issue that certainly does not get enough coverage and I hope you will dedicate more time in the future to issues of LGBT immigration. I am constantly amazed at how little people know and how often people, even within the queer community, assume that we have rights if you are married. There are NO federal benefits.

    My partner and I are a binational couple and it has already taken a toll and limited our relationship. My partner, who is Brazilian, is not planning to move to the US for another two years but even now we have to careful every time she visits. Since we have no legal rights to each other and I am not a “legitimate” reason for her to come to the US, she can only visit when she has another reason, such as a job or internship, to tell the border about. If they have any idea that she is coming here to see me they can bar her from the country for fear that she will stay here illegally. So now we are constantly trying to figure out excuses to bring her here without making it look too suspicious.

    Everyday it is a struggle. If anyone wants more information or needs legal advice as a binational couple we have found that Immigration Equality, a one issue organization that works specifically with LGBT Immigration rights, does over the phone counseling and advice and has a lot of information on their website: Currently they are working on passing the Uniting American Families Act which would extend immigration rights to LGBT couples and allow them to sponsor each other, but with the new congress there is almost zero chance of this happening.