U.S. Embassy Manila Issues First Same-Sex Visa

U.S. Embassy Manila Issues First Same-Sex Visa

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US Embassy Manila Same Sex Visa

Weeks ago, I had a conversation with a good friend of mine from College who is now situated in Hawaii. She told me about how unfortunate it is that one of our friends broke up with her ex-girlfriend from California and I asked why. Noting our friend’s long term plans of being able to one day be with her ex-girlfriend, she mentioned that it is possible already to obtain a same-sex visa to the U.S. same as those other countries such as United Kingdom (Civil Partnership Act). I didn’t believe her at first, not until I read some articles that proved the veracity of my friend’s information.

Despite being discharged yesterday from the hospital because of a suspected appendicitis, I should be resting now yet I just want to share the good news to everyone. As I am writing this, I am just filled with excitement especially to those same-sex couples who will greatly benefit to this change.

It was on December 2, 2013, the United States Embassy in the Philippines issued its first same-sex visa to a same-sex couple, Noel “Aeinghel” Amaro and Robert Cotterman. They are the first gay couple in the Philippines to receive a fiancé visa.  They met online and are scheduled to marry in the United States in January 2014 upon Cotterman’s return from Afghanistan.

Though same-sex marriages are not legal in the Philippines, the U.S. embassy Manila said that gay or lesbian Americans are now allowed to file a petition for family-based visas on behalf of their Filipino spouses, fiancés, and their children. This bold change came right after the U.S. supreme court’s decision of overturning a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that defined marriage as a union between “one man and one woman”. Because of this, the U.S. federal government must extend all federal rights and privileges of marriage to any married couple regardless of sexual orientation. Also, these rights include immigration benefits.

During the first same-sex visa issuance in London earlier this year, U.S. Secretary of State John Jerry said:

“the State Department, which has always been at the forefront of equality in the federal government… is tearing down an unjust and an unfair barrier that for too long stood in the way of same-sex families being able to travel as a family to the United States.”
Filipinos in same-sex relationships with Americans are encouraged to view the Visas section of the Embassy website for more information.
(Credits: Photo taken from Noel “Aeinghel” Amaro’s Facebook)

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