Eric Manriquez and Juan Rivera's marriage stands at the intersection of two of the most controversial social issues of the year and of our era: gay marriage and immigration reform. As the nation awaits the Supreme Court's highly anticipated ruling on the former, the following "Bravery Tapes" video shows how Manriquez and Rivera are publicly fighting for what they believe in rather than hiding in the shadows:
Manriquez, a U.S. citizen, has been legally married to Rivera, an undocumented immigrant, for five years in California, yet Rivera can't apply for a green card through marriage as heterosexual spouses can, because the federal government doesn't recognize their same-sex union as legal. That's just one of many federal benefits they can't access.
Eric and Juan aren't alone. There are some 28,500 binational same-sex couples in the U.S. who aren't able to access immigration privileges that are available to alternate-sex couples, according to a study by UCLA's Williams Institute. There are another estimated 11,500 same-sex couples in which neither partner is a U.S. citizen, the study says.
The Supreme Court and Congress could soon help these couples -- or not. The court is expected to rule by the end of June on the validity of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, as well as California's Proposition 8, a state constitutional amendment that limits marriage to couples consisting of one man and one woman. Meanwhile, Congress is debating a potential overhaul of the nation's immigration laws in a bid to resolve the plight of some 11 million undocumented immigrants.
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