Wednesday, September 02, 2015


The second Mrs. Vache Folle is a citizen of Ukraine (not "the" Ukraine, they don't even have a word for "the") and a permanent resident alien in the United States. She passed her citizenship test a few weeks ago and is waiting to take the oath and become naturalized. 

In order to bring Mrs. VF2 to the United States (she was living in Ukraine when we met), I had to declare to the government that I intended to marry her, and in order to keep her and her daughter here, I actually had to go through with it.  We went to Vegas and got married before a JP a few days after they arrived in America.  I absolutely had to get some state to "legitimize" our relationship within 90 days or they both would have become undocumented aliens and subject to deportation.

Because Mrs. VF2 decided to stay at home and study English full time at a local community college for a while, I found that getting her and her daughter insured required me to have that stupid piece of paper from Nevada.

To make matters worse, the US government assumes that anyone who marries a foreigner and brings them to America does so fraudulently; therefore, I had to prove that Mrs. VF2 and I were really, genuinely, honest to gods married.  Three times.  First time, you get a conditional green card.  Then after two years you have to produce a bunch of documents and be interviewed to show that you are really married (not just on paper).  I sent in affidavits from friends and neighbors, evidence that they lived with me, evidence that we had bank accounts and bills and insurance together, evidence that we parented together.  The US government did not believe this evidence because we didn't own a house together, and real married people don't have arrangements like ours where only one spouse is on the title.  So we had to appeal.  I had to get Mrs. VF1 to make out an affidavit explaining that we still owned the house together because it was "underwater" and we couldn't sell it or change the title.  The government was satisfied until we had to prove our marriage yet again when Mrs. VF2 applied for naturalization.

I wouldn't have bothered to get the paper from Nevada if I didn't have to.  I don't see what business it is of the State of Nevada or New York or the USA whom I love and with whom I share domestic arrangements.  Of course, that piece of paper allows me to compel my insurers, my employer, my stepdaughter's schools, hospitals and others to recognize our arrangement.  It gets me favorable tax treatment and keeps my spouse from testifying against me.  It is not what makes us married, as the US government says, but it sure does confer a lot of rights vis a vis the government and private persons that I never thought much about before. I see why same sex partners are keen to get these rights, and I don't see any good reason for the government to privilege one kind of domestic arrangement over another even if they are in the business of documenting and registering such arrangements.  We all ought to recognize and affirm our neighbors' rights to make these arrangments without compulsion of law, but we are basically a**holes who can't be trusted to show each other basic respect.  The documenttaion and registration of domestic arrangements is justified to the extent that it strengthens the institution of the household, whatever its composition, and not as a means of regulating what households are supposed to look like.  

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