“Although same-sex marriage is not yet recognised in the Philippines, gay Americans are now able to petition for family-based visas on behalf of their Filipino spouses, fiancés, and their children.”
On December 8, the U.S. embassy in the Philippines announced they had issued the first “fiance” visas to Filipinos with same-sex American partners. The first lesbian woman was awarded a “fiance” visa that day. It went to Maria Cecilia Limson Gahuman, who has spent ten years in a long distance relationship with her American partner Carla Antonio, who met and fell in love with Maria when she visited the Philippines during her time in the Navy.
The U.S. embassy in Philippines is publicizing the post-DOMA changes and they are trying to reach out to people by releasing this statement:
“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. Currently, gay couples can marry in 16 of 50 American states, and the nation’s capital. This extension of rights includes immigration benefits. In light of these changes, the American Embassy wants to educate gay Filipinos about new visa opportunities. Filipinos in same-sex relationships with Americans are encouraged to view the Visas section of the Embassy website at manila.usembassy.gov for more information.”
Last week, there was yet another “first” as Maria and Carla married in Santa Clara, California. You can watch their wedding video and interview below.