Same-Sex Couples to be Recognized as Family on Customs Forms

  • creature

    Posts: 5197

    Mar 28, 2012 10:57 PM GMT
    This is not a major development, but every step forward counts. And a smart way to get around DOMA.

    WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration proposed on Tuesday to recognize same-sex couples as families on customs forms, a small but significant step, supporters said, toward equal recognition by the federal government.

    "It's very insulting to come to the United States as an American citizen with your partner or your spouse and be told you cannot be treated as a family," Steve Ralls, a spokesman for Immigration Equality, said of the rule. "It is a symbolic step forward toward making sure that gay and lesbian couples will no longer be subjected to a different standard and they're no longer invisible in the process."

    The proposed rule change, which was posted to the Federal Register website on Tuesday, would expand the definition of a family for the purpose of customs forms for entering the United States. Under the current rule, same-sex partners must file separate forms rather than entering as a family, even if they are legally married. Heterosexual couples are only required to fill out one form.

    It would be among the first wave of changes by the administration to recognize same-sex families as part of an initiative of President Barack Obama to allow for equal treatment to gays and lesbians by federal agencies.

    The Defense of Marriage Act prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages authorized by individual states. But the proposed rule change does not address same-sex marriage specifically but rather broadens the definition of families generally. The definition would also be expanded to cover foster children, stepchildren, half-siblings and guardian situations.
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    Mar 28, 2012 11:08 PM GMT
    That's a big development.

    It will be interesting to see who tries to stop it.

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    Mar 29, 2012 6:14 AM GMT
    A long time ago, I worked several summers for the Canadian equivalent. At the time, *everyone* filled out their own form... everyone was treated as an individual, which also works.

    Glad to hear that our USA brothers are finally going to get equal treatment in this area, at least. icon_smile.gif
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    Mar 29, 2012 9:38 AM GMT
    Sadly, the Republicans in Congress will fight this tooth and nail.