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Old 01-05-2011, 08:54 AM   #1
Dead Robot
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Question: Do I honour my vows?

When my husband and I (married Canadian chaps of 4+ years now) travel to the US we rarely go through your customs together. That sort of invalidates my reasons to get married and I feel a bit mad by it.

Yet we've heard horror stories of couples getting extra screening and verbal abuse when they told Custom officials they were married. We don't want to screw up our vacation (or future US vacations by getting flagged...).

With some states coming on board with the gay marriage thing, is now a good time for us to disclose?
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Old 01-05-2011, 09:17 AM   #2
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I have no advice. It is so horrible that people are still bigoted. It makes me sad people can be so abusive. Good luck, and I hope your trip does not get ruined by some ignorant (bleep).
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Old 01-05-2011, 10:22 AM   #3
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I am sorry this is occurring to you guys! To be honest I had never thought of that as an issue (but I guess it makes sense), when you come home do you go through as a couple or is this just customs heading to the US/other nations?

Hubby and I are a hetero couple so I have no advice to give either way and I am saddened to hear that there are potential problems with customs.

Which port of entry are you guys entering the US -- it may be different depending on the state. I'd never heard of any issues from gay friends crossing by road at the major border crossings of Peace Arch or the Truck crossing nor at YVR where we pass customs on Canadian soil.... but that's not to say there have been issues I just may have not been told.

Customs screening is so profile based, there was a time when hubby and I would always get extra questions as we are different nationalities and he is not born here. Since 9/11 however we've noticed far less scrutiny toward us as he no longer fits the profile of what they are being extra cautious of however whenever we now travel with our friend friend born in the middle east we know that we need to give an exta hour or so for customs because he will always get pulled aside for extra screening.
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Old 01-05-2011, 10:40 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TagsMissy View Post
I am sorry this is occurring to you guys! To be honest I had never thought of that as an issue (but I guess it makes sense), when you come home do you go through as a couple or is this just customs heading to the US/other nations?

Which port of entry are you guys entering the US -- it may be different depending on the state. I'd never heard of any issues from gay friends crossing by road at the major border crossings of Peace Arch or the Truck crossing nor at YVR where we pass customs on Canadian soil.... but that's not to say there have been issues I just may have not been told.
Oh don't be sorry! We still like you!

When Canadians re-enter Canada, there's no mention of marital status on the customs documentation - we only fill out one form "per household". Clever circumnavigation, so politically correct! We've always gone through Canadian customs together and have had no problems at all. No reaction at all when mentioning we're married. We've not heard of any incidents since gay marriage came into law.

When we went to VT this Xmas, DH told the border guard we were married when asked our relationship to each other. We were detained 45 min that time, but I think it was our car rental agreement that made them detain us, not our lifetime agreement...

DH has seen custom guards shout back one half of a couple back behind the line because they were at the desk together.

It's sort of DADT at the border, really.
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Old 01-05-2011, 02:40 PM   #5
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My Brother and Brother-in-law went to Canada and the US on honeymoon in June. On entering the US from Canada they were politely told by the US immigration officer that they shouldn't go up to the desk together in future. He was OK about it but said that they could have problems with other officers.
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Old 01-05-2011, 04:17 PM   #6
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Immigration got really confrontational when we came up together on our honeymoon when we flew into NYC in 09, until I explained that my husband has severe dyslexia and so cant read documentation and were then ok with it.

We then got pulled into a room but were only kept there for 20 mins.but didnt feel particularly intimidated in the room.

Saying that I got pulled into a room when I flew to NYC on Business so maybe I just have one of those faces!!
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Old 01-05-2011, 09:07 PM   #7
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Marital status aside, this could be a gender/sex discrimination issue in the sense that men tend to automatically not be trusted so two men coming up at the same time just makes the whole "terrorists and general criminals are always men" thing worse since there is strength in numbers and they may be intimidated by that. People have yet to post instances of this happening to two women.
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Old 01-05-2011, 11:27 PM   #8
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border crossing in VT can be a little strange anyway I was going to Montreal by myself one year and was stopped by the Canadian side and had to wait 30 mins while they examined every inch of my Expedition. I wouldn't say that its about your marriage I would more say that the guards on both sides of the border in VT have very little to do with their time other than bothering people.
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Old 01-05-2011, 11:49 PM   #9
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This is the first that I have heard of this type of discrimination, it's very unfortunate if this is the case.

That being said, we - two women - recently crossed into Niagara Falls and back, in our minivan, with our children. We all have the same hyphenated last name, the kids' birth certificates have both of our names on them as "Parents" vs "Mother and Father".

We didn't have any issues.

BUT, my parents, a Caucasian hetero couple, got their ENTIRE suburban unpacked. According to my dad, it's like every 50th car and they were the ones.
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Old 01-06-2011, 11:15 AM   #10
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Hmmm I never paid attention on the martial status question itself on the forms for home vs the US form.

I just fill them out and go with little thought. lol Granted we often fly out of Seattle for US destinations so I don't see the customs forms that often.
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Old 01-06-2011, 11:38 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gokenin View Post
I would more say that the guards on both sides of the border in VT have very little to do with their time other than bothering people.
I would agree with that. We hit the border right at a shift change so I think the guard was fresh for some frisky frisking. Though, sadly we didn't get any. The car did.

I spoke to a few other friends; some married, some considered "Common law", and none of them would dare going up to the counter at a US customs as a couple - coming into Canada however, no brainer, they would.

I guess I keep my activism to myself. As long as I get to Dis, right?!
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Old 01-07-2011, 04:09 PM   #12
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me and my gf travelled to the USA last year for the first time together ... we went up to the immigration counter together - same home address, absolutely no problems.

(strangely however, when we went to Canada we went up separately! mind you at that point we didn't live together)
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Old 01-09-2011, 06:21 PM   #13
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We've been married for nearly 5 years

and together 12 years. Unless it says "household parties" we go up through customs seperately. I don't think it has any bearing officially, it may be a homophobic agent but honestly Federal Agencies in the US offer domestic benefits so it really shouldn't matter.
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Old 01-12-2011, 07:26 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TinkerMouse View Post
People have yet to post instances of this happening to two women.
I haven't posted them in this thread, but, I have experienced them.

I did post in a TR last year about it -- a customs officer actually told me that the Federal Statute regarding marriage of US Nationals to foreign Nationals doesn't apply "because this is a federal issue" even though all of the courts where it has been challenged have so far upheld the statute as superior to the later laws trying to say that only Americans can define marriage.

If anything, I'd actually say that US Customs is getting worse. We used to just fill out one form because the wording is something like "complete one form per family" and even though they would pause at it they would then take it and clear us for entry. (We succeeded in this many times at many entry ports over several years despite the press saying that they wouldn't take the form with both of us on it.)

About a year and a half to two years ago we started having problems. I had one customs official tell me that if I told them I was an American citizen and that I was married to a woman then I could lose my right to enter the US. Another told me that it was grounds to lose my citizenship.

We've broken in that we now fill out two forms before going to the counter. But, we have always gone to the counter together and it will be essential to me to continue this once our child is born. I can't be one of the people suggesting that our family isn't valid even if it means that I will have to explain discrimination at an early age.
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Old 01-12-2011, 10:10 PM   #15
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I had one customs official tell me that if I told them I was an American citizen and that I was married to a woman then I could lose my right to enter the US. Another told me that it was grounds to lose my citizenship.
What?????? It's the year 2011
Ridiculous!!!!
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