USCIS Says Marriage Does Not Require Sex
No doubt couples across the country are heaving a sigh of relief now that US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has reaffirmed in a recent case that a marriage can be for real without sex.
[United States citizen's] dog slept in the bed (which really shocked this Peruvian lady who had never seen a dog sleep in bed with it's owners). I know you might be [a] dog lover and have dogs sleep in bed with you, but that is out of the question for me too.(For the record, me too.)
In the event, Collins-Romero used a Board of Immigration Appeals decision to successfully argue that their marriage, with its initial bout of romance and later squabbles and unhappiness, was bona fide despite no sex. The decision she used is In the Matter of Peterson, Interim Decision #1845 and it was decided in 1968. (Thanks to Dan Kowalski for the link!)
Many practitioners will know that the major criterion for establishing a bona fide marriage is the "intent to have a life together as man and wife," a rule that manages to be simultaneously anachronistic (the asymmetrical man and wife), vague, and tautological (what is living as a man and a wife other than living in a marriage?).
Collins-Romero wrote on Friday of the recent decision: "[W]e had so much evidence about the length of their correspondence by email (3 years) before she came to the U.S., his sending her love letters, pictures
of him having traveled to Peru and stayed with her & her family, etc." During the new interview, "whether or not the marriage was consummated never even came up."
If you want to read more, the USCIS Adjudicator's Field Manual provides revealing insights into this country's marriage laws and intuitions. Based on this and other sources UCLA Professor Juliet Williams has written a terrific paper on the concept of a sham marriage. You can read that here.
UPDATE: evening 1/10/10 Dan Kowalski just forwarded information that if the marriage is by proxy and not in person then sex, or at least the opportunity for sex, is required.
In other words, if the marriage occurs with both parties physically present, phone sex is okay. If it is phone-marriage, sex in person is required. Here are the links he sent: http://www.stripes.com/
Jacqueline Stevens Professor, UCSB. Visiting Scholar, Center for the Study of Law and Society at the Berkeley Law School, UC Berkeley, 2009-2010. States without Nations: Citizenship for Mortals was just published by Columbia University Press (2009). My first book was Reproducing the State (Princeton, 1999). For more, please see http://www.jacquelinestevens.org/.
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