Homosexuals and Immigration
Developments in the United States
and Abroad

Homosexual activists, seeking acceptance in society, are pressuring governments around the world for such rights as marriage, immigration sponsorship of same-sex partners, and asylum on the grounds of persecution as members of a distinct social group. In fact, they have succeeded at securing a number of these sorts of official recognition and approval. Supporters view these new policies as societal progress. Opponents view them as postmodern societal decline. A look at the situation shows:.

The United States and 13 other countries grant homosexuals political asylum because of fear of persecution in their home nation on the basis of membership in a "particular social group," in this case homosexuals.

Immigration sponsorship of one's same-sex partner, on equal basis with married, opposite-sex couples is allowed in 10 countries.

No country yet allows homosexual marriage, although several grant official recognition of "domestic partnerships." The parliament of the

Netherlands has passed legislation calling for homosexual marriage.

The United States bans federal recognition of homosexual marriage through the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which precludes spousal immigration sponsorship of homosexual partners, even if they were to gain official marital status in another country in the future.

The 1990 Immigration Act removed homosexuality as a ground for exclusion from immigrating to the United States.

Several United Nations organizations are vigorously pushing for official recognition of homosexuals, with clear immigration-related implications, including expanding the definition of human rights to include homosexuals.

For at least a decade, homosexual advocacy groups have made immigration one of the fronts on which they fight for their agenda. The public relations battles they wage use the strategy of reshaping society to recognize same-sex relationships, adopting the rhetoric of the civil rights movement, and the tactic of alleging discrimination equivalent to that against blacks under Jim Crow laws or apartheid.

Exclusion Until fairly recently, most societies, cultures, legal systems, and the world's leading religions have viewed homosexuality as aberrant behavior. It comes as no surprise, then, that until only the most recent times, homosexuality has been grounds for exclusion of a prospective immigrant in most nations.

Exclusion is the prevention from entry of someone actually outside the United States or who is treated as being outside the United States for purposes of certain provisions of immigration law. The Immigration and Nationality Act was amended in 1965 to specifically exclude from receiving a visa and from admission into the United States "[a]liens afflicted with . . . sexual deviation . . ." (INA Sec. 212(a)(4)). This was considered to include homosexuals.

In practice, however, this was rarely enforced. In fact, around 1979, the U.S. Public Health Service (the source for regulations involving health issues) said it would no longer certify homosexuality as a disease, thus ending the practice of denying visas to homosexuals who are not otherwise excludable on health, criminal, security, or other grounds. Revisions in the 1990 Immigration Act formalized the change.

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