BRITAIN EASES IMMIGRATION FOR GAY PARTNERS
The Labour (Socialist) Government of Britain has made it easier for the partners of
British citizens' to immigrate to that country. The Tory (Conservative) party fears
that "millions" will pretend to be gay in order to qualify.
The new immigration guidelines were announced on 1997-OCT-10. It affects gay, lesbian,
and heterosexual common-law couples. This appears to have been triggered by an
internal review of regulations regarding unmarried couples, and by the European
Commission of Human Rights' recent ruling against the government's unequal age of
sexual consent laws.
The previous guidelines required gay or lesbian couples to prove a much longer-standing
relationship than heterosexuals were required to do. Home Office Immigration Minister
Mike O'Brien said that this bias was "unsustainable and may have breached human
rights law." Under the new rules, a couple would have to prove 4 years of co-habitation
and prove that their intent was a lifetime committment. They would have to remain together
for one year before being allowed to settle permanently.
Mike Watson is a spokesperson for Stonewall, the lesbian and gay group that has been
pushing for immigration reform, He said "We are very pleased that the Immigration
Minister recognises that the policy of the previous Government was unjust and
unsustainable...We have had a very difficult struggle for the right to live and love
the partner of our choice."
Conservative party member Lord Tebbit, said, "It is clear that the Government's policy
is to place sodomite marriage on the same standing as the honourable estate of matrimony.
Presumably now we will have to endure a succession of real or alleged homosexual partners
being brought in to avoid our immigration rules."
Former Home Office Minister Ann Widdecombe was critical. She said that the regulation:
"...undermines marriage and undermines immigration control. The Labour party have
managed to deal a severe blow at both in one fell swoop."
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