Same-sex couple visa now available in Philippines

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Sunday, December 8, 2013

MANILA -- Transgender Americans can now petition for family-based visas on behalf of their Filipino spouses, fiancés and children as the United States Embassy in the Philippines has issued its first fiancé visa to a same-sex couple last Monday, December 2.

Although same-sex marriage is not yet legal in the Philippines, homosexual couples can marry in 16 of 50 American states.

The embassy, on its official website, said the Supreme Court of the United States struck down the portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that defined marriage as “a union between a man and a woman.”

"Overturning DOMA signifies that the US federal government must extend all federal rights and privileges of marriage to any married couple, regardless of sexual orientation," it added.

The first gay couple in the Philippines to receive a fiance visa are Noel Amaro and Robert Cotternman who met online and are set to marry each other in the US on January 2014.

Same-sex couple
Photo of Filipino-American transgender couple, Noel Amaro(left) and Robert Cotternman(right). (Courtesy: Noel Amaro)

Cotterman serves in the US military and is scheduled to return from a tour in Afghanistan in January.

Another long-distance couple, who have been together for 10 years, Maria Limson Gahuman (Filipina) and Maria Antonia (American) have also received a fiancé visa. They will be married on December 30.

Advancing gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender equality has been one of President Obama's top priorities, the US embassy said. (NMP/Sunnex)

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