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five American citizens will marry their Dutch partners

 
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BerichtGeplaatst: Zo Aug 02, 2009 17:21 
   Onderwerp: five American citizens will marry their Dutch partners
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Amsterdam, the Netherlands – Four hundred years after Henry Hudson first set sail from Amsterdam to Manhattan, more and more gay and
lesbian Americans are making the journey in reverse – and not just for an enjoyable vacation.

On Saturday, August 1, five American citizens will marry their Dutch partners in a ceremony presided by Amsterdam mayor Job Cohen.

While same-sex weddings are nothing unusual in the Netherlands, these ones will take place on a boat in the middle of Amsterdam's annual Gay
Pride canal parade.

The unusual wedding venue highlights painful inequalities in U.S. marriage and immigration law. While these couples are free to marry and
live in the Netherlands, they do not enjoy the same freedom in the United States.

Even in states that allow same-sex couples to marry, like Iowa and Connecticut, these couples are not recognized by the U.S. federal
government, which controls all immigration matters.

As a result, thousands of US citizens are forced into exile in countries like the Netherlands, where their relationships with their foreign
partners are recognized and where they enjoy equal rights in family law.

Couples married overseas may even have trouble going to the U.S. for a short visit. Their marriage can be seen by U.S. immigration
authorities as a sign that they intend to remain in the U.S. together.

Same-sex spouses have been turned away at the border and refused entry for this very reason.

"The debate over immigration reform is about to get underway in the U.S. Congress," said Martha McDevitt-Pugh, a U.S. citizen who lives by
necessity in Amsterdam with her Dutch-Australian wife.

"The question is: will our families be included in this legislation and will we finally be able to return home?"

The City of Amsterdam has invited McDevitt-Pugh to represent the love exile community on their wedding boat. "These marriages send a message
to our leaders in Washington: it’s time to honor and respect all our families”, she said.
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