Still treated as second-class citizens in civil marriage law

Posted by Daniel Thomas on

"The good news is that gay Americans can now openly fight and die for their country in the military. The bad news is we are still treated as second-class citizens when it comes to the civil marriage law.

"I would like to share an experience I had. As a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco from 1995 to 1998, I had a serious relationship. During that time, I had to go to the U.S. consulate for an errand. When I'm abroad, the U.S. embassy is more than a representative of my nation, it is home. I expect to be treated with respect as an American citizen.

"While I was at the consulate in Casablanca, there was a couple at the next window registering their marriage with the consular office so that the husband, a Moroccan, could join his American wife in the U.S. On a whim, at the end of my transaction, I told the consular officer that I was in a serious relationship with a Moroccan man and asked if I could bring him to the U.S. with me. Without a pause, the woman answered, 'No, there's no way.' I felt like I'd been punched in the gut. I scurried from the consulate on the brink of tears and feeling like some sort of criminal.

"I will always remember the day, and the face of the U.S. government that told me I am not equal to other Americans, that my relationships are not as worthy as those of other Americans.

"I respect all religious beliefs. I would never ask others to change what they believe about religious marriage or who can get married in any church, temple or mosque. However, to me, this is not a religious issue. In America, marriage is a secular, civil right. This is a civil rights issue. More specifically, this is a highly personal issue between me and my government. As long as the U.S. does not recognize the marriages and relationships of same-sex couples as equal to heterosexual relationships, when I think of America, I will see that face saying no."

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