Immigration Reform: Binational Same Sex Couples Fear They’ll Be Left Out

Even though the District of Columbia legalized same sex marriage earlier this year, the federal government doesn’t recognize the marriages and therefore same sex couples do not receive the same benefits as heterosexual couples. Erwin de Leon and Rev. John Beddingfield are just one of the many couples in the District who experience limitations. Leon is an immigrant from the Philippines on a student visa that expires next year and because he and Beddingfield do not receive the same immigration benefits as heterosexual couples, he can not apply to become a U.S. citizen. According to a census taken by the UCLA’s Williams Institute, there are an “estimated 25,000 same sex couples in the US that [have] one partner [that] is foreign born.” The introduction of Senators Leahy (D-VT) and Menendez (D-RI) Comprehensive Reform Act of 2010 may be the immigration reform needed because it encompasses the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) which would grant citizenship to same-sex couples.