Members of Caribbean American Pride all decked out and ready to march in NYC Pride Parade
The always flamboyantly festive NYC Pride Parade was especially exuberant this year.
And well it should have been, for only days earlier the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that defined marriage as strictly between a man and a woman and denied legally married same-sex couples the federal benefits provided to heterosexual spouses.
Among the much-awaited effects of this ruling is that it paves the way for immigration for bi-national couples. Just like any other married couple, a US citizen can now sponsor their same-sex spouse for a green card, bringing them permanent US residency status.
Celebrating this new ruling as they danced along the parade route in their Caribbean carnival-inspired costumes depicting the Seven Deadly Sins were members of Caribbean American Pride. The organization was formed early last year to provide a voice for members of the Caribbean lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and straight community around the issue of HIV/AIDS education and immigration reform.
Said Ethel Felix, the organization’s president, “We are ecstatic about the ruling! It gives LGBT Caribbean folks the opportunity to stop living a lie, going through each day with the constant fear they will be found out.”
She went on to explain that because in most Caribbean countries there is such a huge stigma attached to being gay, in order to stay in the US, many Caribbean-born gay men and lesbian women have been forced into heterosexual marriages to people they aren’t attracted to. On top of that, there is the repugnance of having to deceive Homeland Security and members their own community.
“Now,” Ms. Felix concluded,” we will be able to stay here legally, live our lives openly as who we really are, and marry people we truly love. It doesn’t get any better than that.”
Photo: Donna Lamb