Currently the following countries allow a same-sex partner or spouse as legal immigrants:
Adovcacy News - Love Exiles on board for 13-city U.S. tour
May 10, 2004
Exiles on board for 13-city U.S. tour
Yesterday, Love Exiles Foundation, the newest organization for gay and lesbian rights in the Netherlands, was launched. The Foundation was set up to address discrimination that same-sex bi-national couples and their families face, particularly in the area of immigration. Dutch gays and lesbians still lack essential rights they need to protect themselves and their families when they go abroad. Once outside the Dutch border, spousal relations are often not recognized. Love Exiles supports these families and educates the public about the issues same-sex couples face. There are local Love Exiles groups in Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, and Canada.
Dutch same-sex marriages, registered partnerships and living-together contracts aren’t recognized in most other countries.
“If you are outside the Netherlands and your partner is hospitalized, you may be excluded from making medical decisions or even visiting your partner in the hospital. No matter how much effort you have taken to protect each other in the event of death, when you travel outside the Netherlands you may not be considered family and your arrangements may not be respected by local authorities. In most countries, our relationships are not recognized for immigration purposes. Even within the EU we cannot move as partners and maintain our rights in another country”, explains Love Exiles founder and chairperson, Martha McDevitt-Pugh. She concludes: “We live on an island of acceptance. We need a world, not an island.”
During the launch event at the ABC Treehouse in Amsterdam, Kees Waaldijk, a key force in realizing the possibility for gays and lesbians in the Netherlands to marry, described the legal steps taken by 9 European countries to legally recognize the relationships of same-sex couples by opening up civil marriage or by introducing a form of registered partnership. “Others may follow”, he concluded. Sixteen countries in the world allow their citizens to sponsor their same-sex partner or spouse as legal immigrants. In the other 176 countries in the world, gay and lesbian citizens have no right to live legally together with their partners. Committed partners are for all intents and purposes ´legal strangers´.
Thousands of ´Love Exiles´ live in the Netherlands, where same-sex partners have been able to immigrate for more than a quarter of a century. The Foundation refers to Love Exiles as partners within gay, lesbian, bisexual or transsexual relationships who have chosen or are considering exile inorder to be together. Many same-sex couples choose to immigrate to a country that recognizes their relationship for immigration purposes. They face the challenges of leaving behind their homes, communities, families, jobs and careers to start a new life.
“Many of us feel it’s a mixed blessing to live in The Netherlands,” says founder McDevitt-Pugh, originally from the USA. “By having the right to live with our partners and even to marry, our lack of rights in our own countries becomes more visible and more painful. All our families need to have access to the same human rights as any family in our home countries. Love Exiles gives people the opportunity to meet and support each other, and work together to pursue life, liberty and happiness.”
Love Exiles shares with us the belief that our relationships require international recognition. We look forward to joining Love Exiles on the Marriage Equality Express 13-city U.S. bus tour in October with our American friends who are working for same-sex marriage.