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US Immigration Consequences of Same Sex Civil Unions in Thailand

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing US Immigration and we are also discussing the issue of civil unions here in the Kingdom.  

It has recently come to my attention that there is a really sincere possibility that the Thai Government may legalize same-sex civil unions here in the Kingdom in the relatively near future.  That brings up the question, "How would this impact the US Immigration process?" Civil partnership well as short answer to that question is, “If the bill simply brings online civil partnerships or so-called civil unions and not full same-sex marriage, then it is probably not going to have a great deal of impact overall on the US Immigration process.”  Why is that? Well essentially the United States takes the position that while same-sex marriage is legal, same-sex civil unions and civil partnerships fall short of “marriage” for certain purposes. So for example, the United States Immigration apparatus is looking at marriage. They don't have a specific Immigration category for civil unions, same sex or otherwise for that matter and civil partnerships. And the reason for this, I don't know. The policy reason goes back decades if not hundreds of years and that also stems from the fact that civil unions are a relatively new concept and so you know the Immigration law predates civil unions conceptually. But that being said, they are basically looking at marriage. You are either married or not for purposes of immigration. Civil Union falls short of that so it would not be possible based on a Civil Union alone to go ahead and file for example for a CR-1 Visa for a Thai spouse same sex, or for a same-sex K-3 visa for example or for that matter for a same-sex IR-1  visa as the spouse of an American citizen because in the eyes of that particular body of law, same-sex civil union or civil partnership does not rise to the same level as marriage. That being said, a civil union would presumably still allowed for the filing of a K-1 fiancé visa but depending on the circumstances of the given individuals in question, this may not be a particularly optimal category to utilize.

The other thing to take away from this, I do believe it as civil unions are promulgated here in the Kingdom then there is a good possibility that we could see full same sex marriage being legalized relatively shortly thereafter. It might take a few years but I can see it happening, some time down the line from civil unions being recognized. That being said they might not, so that remains to be seen and we will update you on this channel accordingly. 

The thing to take away from this video is civil unions alone are deemed to not rise to the level of marriage for purposes of US immigration benefits so under most circumstances I don't think civil unions are going to be of that great a benefit from a US immigration perspective. 

That being said there are massively substantial benefits that will come about as a result of Civil Unions being legalized here in the Kingdom of Thailand including succession rights pursuant to wills and estates for example, certain medical determinations that can be made within the same sex relationship; possibly adoption issues. These are all substantial things. So while it may not rise to the level of being considered a “marriage” for US Immigration purposes, same-sex civil unions are a very good first step for those in the LGBT community from a legal standpoint because it can provide a substantial amount of benefits for those in those positions.