The “mail order bride” business is BIG business in Ukraine. In fact one of the few non-Peace Corps Americans we met while in Ukraine visiting our son was this man from Atlanta who’d set up office in one of the apartment buildings in which we rented an apartment while visiting Kiev. This
vulturegentleman literally swooped down upon us after quickly sizing us up as Americans and wasted no time at all trapping us in the dank concrete confines of the stairwell leading up to our 5th floor apartment. It was obvious he was hungry for English conversation with fellow Americans and we fit the bill. So there we stood, my son, his girlfriend, my husband, and me, each perched on our own stair trying to be polite, listening to him tell us about his “mail order bride” business and his 5 years in Kiev.
I was stunned. There wasn’t even a hint of shame or embarrassment in his voice. In fact, I think he was actually bragging since he alluded to the good money he was making several times in the conversation. I was not impressed, and judging from the looks on the other 3 members of his captive audience, they weren’t either. Now full disclosure is in order here. I am familiar with this “marriage business” (as he liked to call it) and I know someone personally who has been a customer of the Russian/Ukrainian mail order bride business ----- multiple times ---- unsuccessful each time ----- at the expense and heartbreak of his ex-wife and 2 estranged children. I am not a fan of the mail order bride business or the entrepreneurs who run them. And so I must confess, I disliked this man almost upon the first words out of his mouth. And yes, I know this is horrible to admit, but I’ve seen the collateral damage up close and personal ---- we were neighbors to this family for 10 years. His children played with mine, his wife and I were good friends. And now this family is in ruins.
This incident with Mr. Atlanta got me to thinking.
There are plenty of American men out there who cannot find an American woman willing to play the subservient little wife in their “master of the universe” fantasy, but thanks to today’s technology and people like Mr. Atlanta, their fantasies are just a few mouse clicks away. And best of all, this wonderful “marriage business” seems to have slipped right under the radar of all those self-appointed “Family Values” guardians who’ve been working full time protecting our marriages from gays and lesbians.
But what if my gay son were to fall in love with someone from another country? Would he be allowed to marry that person and live happily-ever-after in this country with that person? Well we all know the answer to that is NO. First of all, our government has decided it needs to stick its nose into some American’s lives and deny them a basic right that others enjoy. And it has been decided that my son will never be able to enjoy the institution of marriage because he is gay, but my former neighbor is welcome to make a mockery of it. And adding even more injury to the first injustice is our government’s refusal to even recognize any relationship my son might have with someone of the same sex. And as a result, U.S. immigration refuses to even acknowledge same-sex relationships or the families that are increasingly based on them, and as the article "U.S. Immigration Law Inhumane to Same-Sex Couples" tells us:
Thousands of U.S. citizens and their foreign same-sex partners face enormous hardships, separation and even exile because discriminatory U.S. immigration policies deprive these couples of the basic right to be together, Human Rights Watch and Immigration Equality said in a report released toda y.
Discriminatory U.S. immigration laws turn the American dream into a heartless nightmare for countless U.S. citizens and their foreign partners.
If the notion of "gay immigration" sounds funny to heterosexuals and others deeply involved in the immigration process, it's because even legally-wed couples wait one to three years for the alien spouse to get a green card. Permanent residents are kept from their spouses and children for up to four years. "But at least there is hope in site for heterosexuals.
And I can attest to that, my neighbor is working on wife number 2 --- or maybe it’s wife number 3--- at this point – I’ve lost count. And if this isn’t a travesty, then I have no idea what is.