Gay couples stranded between love and country

March 14, 2001
Barbara Dozetos and her Canadian girlfriend met online four years ago, got together in person shortly thereafter and have been living together for the last two years. But come September, when her partner's student visa expires, Dozetos, who lives in Vermont,
could be forced to choose--give up her lover, leave the U.S. for Canada or continue the relationship long distance. 
     In similar circumstances, a heterosexual couple would have the option of marriage as a means of gaining legal immigration status for a noncitizen. But for gay and lesbian Americans in binational relationships, that alternative is not available.
     "It's comical that a country that prides itself on being so socially advanced is so far behind the curve when it comes to this law," said Dozetos, 37, a writer for PlanetOut, a gay and lesbian lifestyle Web site. 
     Dozetos and her partner are among an estimated 100,000 same-sex binational couples in the U.S, according to Immigration Equality, the L.A. offshoot of the Lesbian and Gay Immigration Rights Task Force.
     There are potentially tens of thousands more, as many gay Americans' foreign partners are living here illegally and are unwilling to identify themselves for fear of deportation, according to the task force.