Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Gay Expats

I have no idea if these men are gay
Photo by Jakkaphan Sanitprem
Brandon Perlberg is an American who is reluctantly living in London. He lived in New York City and loved both the city and his country, but his country wouldn't let him apply for a visa for his male partner of seven years. Brandon's partner, Benn Storey, however, is British and Britain approved Brandon's visa within 48 hours. Brandon had to give up his law career in New York for a new live abroad in order to remain with the man he loved.

Even more interesting is the fact that Perlberg and Storey could have legally married in New York state, but under the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), that marriage could not be used to apply for a visa for Storey.

According to the Love Exiles Web site, the following countries all allow a same-sex partner or spouse to be sponsored for immigration.
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Iceland
  • Israel
  • The Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom
Note that this list is probably not complete and will grow over time as more countries throw overcome bigotry and fear. The US may join this list soon. President Obama has already proposed allowing immigration rights to same-sex couples, a promising step. It would help to solve problems like those of "Tom'" and "Bill", an American/Thai couple living in Thailand. They would like to live in the US and take care of Bill's elderly parents, but they can't because of US law. It's time to end this bigotry.

If you'd like to help everyone realize their dream of being an expat, regardless of sexual orientation, the following Web sites are a good start:

See also, this mailbag post I wrote abut bringing over a same-sex partner to France.


  1. Thanks, Curtis. Great post!

    So few Americans—even expats—realize the federal law still stands in the way of so many same sex couples. It's time for the U.S. to get with the program.

  2. I ran away for a year to Brazil because of this very issue. Unfortunately the added stress ruined our relationship and I'm back for entirely economic reasons...