Around the world, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender families face widespread discrimination. Most governments do not offer legal recognition for same-sex relationships. In addition, bi-national GLBT couples in many countries must cope with immigration laws that fail to recognize their families.
In the United States, out of 1 million green cards or immigrant visas, approximately 75 percent are issued to family members of U.S. citizens and permanent residents. However, the current definition of "family" in U.S. immigration law does not include same-sex partners. Therefore, thousands of same-sex couples are separated or live in constant fear of being stopped by officials who demand to see documentation and threaten detention. In some cases, same-sex partners face prosecution by the Immigration and Naturalization Service – including hefty fines and deportations. U.S. citizens are sometimes left with no other choice but to emigrate with their partners to a country with more fair-minded immigration laws.
The Human Rights Campaign is working with its allies in Congress to amend current immigration law to cover same-sex relationships.
If you are in a same-sex relationship and you or your partner is facing deportation, contact Immigration Equality for help.
Many countries grant same-sex couples greater rights, benefits and protections than those available to GLBT families in the United States. In 2001, the Netherlands became the first country to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. Since then, marriage equality has become the law in Belgium, Canada, Spain and South Africa. Domestic partnership registration is also an option in a growing number of countries, and some governments recognize same-sex partnerships for immigration purposes. Learn more about international relationship recognition.