April 30, 2013
Judy Rickard and wife Karin Bogliolo continue on the frontlines of immigration reform for binational couples. Most recently Judy had a column at the Immigration Policy Center, cross-posted in part:
Today in the United States, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Americans who fall in love with and marry foreign nationals are being asked to choose between country and spouse, country and career, and country and family. I know this because I have spent the last several years in a battle with my own government to recognize my wife for immigration purposes. Trying to keep my marriage to a British national together has cost me my career and a full pension, time away from my American family and friends, as well as a great deal of stress over finances and my future.
Gay Americans who are legally married in the U.S. have a marriage that is not recognized by the federal government. Therefore, the 28,500 same-sex binational couples in America, in which one spouse is an American citizen, are in a situation where they cannot sponsor their husbands and wives for immigration purposes. This also means they do not receive the 1,138 federal rights, benefits, protections, and obligations that automatically come with marriage and serve to protect and support families.
The culprit behind this injustice is the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), penned into law in 1996 by President Bill Clinton. DOMA has since been tearing families apart and forcing many to leave America. Thousands of aspects of American life are affected by DOMA’s stranglehold on people like me, and with more lesbian and gay couples marrying each year, this problem only grows.
My immigration story began when I met my Karin—a British citizen. She was born in Germany and survived World War II by being taken to Austria and then returning to Germany to live in refugee camps. Her father, a conscripted German soldier, was killed in Russia when she was a newborn. Her mother later married an occupying British officer, who moved them to the United Kingdom, where Karin was raised. Karin has never committed a crime and is now retired.
Continue at Immigration Policy Center