Till Court Do Us Part 

Six tales of marital bliss and cruel disappointment.

Page 4 of 9

Wendy: We need it to be legal at the federal level, because immigration is completely federal.

Belinda: There is hope for us. There is a piece of legislation which if it passed it would add the words "permanent partner" where the word "spouse" is in immigration law.

Wendy: It's called the Permanent Partner Immigration Act.

Belinda: It's in the House and the Senate. Senator [John] Kerry is one of the cosponsors for the bill. But it's not going anywhere with the Republican-controlled House, unfortunately.

Wendy: They can't get it to the floor. It's been in the House for the last three or four years, and a year ago was the first time it was introduced in the Senate.

Has Belinda's immigration status made it difficult to plan for the future?

Wendy: We've always talked about having kids, a ceremony, even issues like how much of a practice do I build up.

Belinda: Even, do we get a little puppy?

Wendy: We haven't bought any of the furniture in our house, it's all been stuff that people have given to us because we don't spend money on any of that stuff, simply because if we have to pick up and move in a year, why bother? We wanted to be foster parents and knew that ultimately we'd want to adopt. We have talked about getting pregnant, and we've put all of that on hold, which makes me really unhappy.

Belinda: Wendy would have a house full of children.

Wendy: I would. But when you're spending all your money on attorney's fees...

Belinda: ... and you can't give them security...

Wendy: ... and even if we adopt here, we don't know legally if that would be recognized in another country. It's made Belinda not want to have children, because she doesn't think that would be fair to them. We've got a lot of stress and uncertainty that hangs around in our lives, and she doesn't think it would be good to bring anybody else into that. Which I can understand. But I'm getting older, and I'm finally in that relationship where I would build a family, and I've been stopped from doing that because of all this stuff that I have no control over. I'm really frustrated by that. And I'm angry. I'm very angry. And I always laugh when I say I'm angry about this stuff, but it's because otherwise I'll cry.

Do you know of other couples in your situation?

Wendy: I'm continually amazed by how many binational same-sex couples there are, because they're everywhere.

Belinda: The problem is so many people won't tell you their story because they're frightened of being visible in the eyes of immigration.

Wendy: Government is a very scary thing for some people. How many people have we had to watch leave or split up? Sometimes I wonder how we've managed to stay together, given the stress that it's put on our relationship. This immigration stuff, it's always there. It's not just that we have to leave, it's "Did you file that piece of paper? Did you talk to the attorney about this? Have you done this? Have we paid that?" It's like this constant thread that runs through our life every day.

Belinda: For better or for worse.

Stewart & Leland
Stewart Blandón, 38, doctor
Leland Traiman, 52, nurse practitioner, fertility clinic owner
Kids: Julian, 4
Years Together: 14

Leland likes to say their son came "from the Internet." Although the Alameda couple used an adoption agency, they met Julian's birth mother through a Web site Stewart put up. They took two days to get married; one standing in line with an antsy four-year-old to get the license and another to do the ceremony.

Had you previously had a ceremony?


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