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    Posted June 17, 2008 by
    Hamburg, Germany
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Same-sex marriage: Civil right vs. states' rights

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    Living in Exile


    We think of most refugees as being from places like Chad, or Rwanda, or Haiti. But there are thousands from the USA. From Oregon. From Maine. From Texas. From your neighborhood.....seeking refuge abroad because we are not permitted to live their with our partner of a different nationality. Thus we, too, are refugees.


    My name is Wade. It's a good and typical southern name common in Louisiana where I was born. . But I'm not your good typical southern boy...no, I'm an exile, a refugee, because I cannot marry my partner of the same sex.


    I left the USA for Buenos Aires eight years ago in order to be with my life partner. I spent five years living and struggling in Argentina, experiencing a whole economic and governmental collapse in 2001. I said goodbye to my family, my friends, and everything I owned. I said goodbye to my country. Eight years later my partner and I are finally recognizedbut not by the US Federal governmentby the German government where we are now living--instead.


    I am thrilled about the legalizaion of gay marriage in California. In fact, this is where I grew up.  But I still cannot come home, because a marriage in California is not federally recognized, and I still do not have the same rights as heterosexuals. How many of us are there, how many American men and women are liviing around the world in order to be with the one who we love?


    The USA is the supposed land of liberty, the land of the free. "With liberty and justice for all" is what I was taught in school in Prunedale, California. What they didn't teach me as a kid is that it is liberty and justice for all "except homosexuals."


    America is fallen behind much of the westernized world when it comes to the recognition of same-sex marriages. Ironic, because in so many ways the country is the most progressive on the planet.


    It was all too recent that "African Americans" used to have to sit in the back of the bus. This would be unheard of today. Forty years from now, same sex marriage probably won't even be a doubt in anyone's mind. But forty years from now is a little bit late for me. It would be nice to come home soon, with my partner. When the most populous state in the union makes a decision like this, it is time for the rest of the country to follow suit. Next step: Federal recognition of all equal rights for all US citizens!

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