US Embassy Manila issues first fiancé visas for same-sex couples
Noel "Aeinghel" Amaro received this week his fiancé visa so he can marry his American boyfriend, Robert Cotterman, a US soldier who is ending his stint in Afghanistan.
It is the US Embassy in Manila's first same-sex fiancé visa under a new US State Department policy world-wide that treats same-sex fiancé couples just as it does straight couples.
According to the US embassy's website, Amaro and Cotterman met online and are scheduled to marry in the United States in January 2014.
Gay marriage is still not recognized under Philippine law. When asked about it this week, President Aquino said it still needs to be studied, specially in light of the possible negative effects on the adopted children of gay couples.
The US embassy also said in the same announcement that Maria Cecilia Limson Gahuman, a Filipina, and Maria Carla Antonio, an American, received a fiancé(e) visa as well. "With their fiancé visa, the couple will transition their ten-year relationship from long-distance to marriage in California on December 30, 2013," it said.
In an interview in Outrage magazine earlier this year, her boyfriend Robert Cotterman professed his love for Amaro and claims to have married her in Baguio in 2012. Some churches in the Philippines marry gay couples, but the union is not recognized legally. The US soldier also said the two already have an adopted son.
Cotterman revealed their plan to get married in America in 2014, "after my unit gets back from deployment. And from then on, we will be living our lives to the fullest that we can." They met through a "random friend request" on Facebook.
"Equality of people"
US Secretary of State John Kerry had announced the same-sex visas in London earlier this year, and said one of the “most important exports by far is America’s belief in the equality of all people.”