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Can reform push help gay foreigners to stay in US?
SCRIPT: Theirs is a love story -- John a pastor in a Washington DC church, Erwin, a doctoral student from the Philippines. Together for 14 years, married for three. But their future is uncertain. Erwin doesn't have permanent residency, and has had to string together temporary student and work visas year after year -- always facing risk of expulsion. SOUNDBITE 1 Erwin De Leon (man), Doctoral student in urban planning from the Philippines (English, 14 sec): "The image I use is a Damocles sword, you know, it's hanging on your head. And for the longest time, John remembers this, you know, 10 years ago I'd wake up at night with nightmares, you know, it's just emotion, and it's welling up right now." Gay marriage is only recognized by nine states and Washington DC -- but it's the federal government that sets immigration rules -- and *it* doesn't recognize same-sex unions. SOUNDBITE 2 John Beddingfield (man), pastor (English, 15 sec): "If Erwin were a woman and we got married, then probably within a year or so, I could sponsor my spouse you know for residency, or a green card, or a path to citizenship. And currently that's not a possibility." But that could change: the Supreme Court, in a landmark case on March 26, is taking up the issue of same-sex marriage. Its decision, if favorable, would give John and Erwin the right to finally settle down --without fear of separation. Edwin and Rodrigo are also married -- and face the same risk. Rodrigo, from El Salvador, has been fighting for his right to residency -- but those legal battles are costly. SOUNDBITE 3 Edwin Echegoyen (man), American citizen married to Rodrigo (English, 11 sec): "Between the two lawyers that we hired to challenge the legal system, we have spent, I would say actually close to 38,000 dollars in legal fees." If change doesn't come from the courts, they hope it'll come from President Obama, who's proposed that immigration reform also take the rights of binational same-sex couples into account -- whether they're married or not. Either solution would radically change America - no more so than for the 40,000 couples like these, uncertain today of what their tomorrow holds. -------------------- SHOTLIST: WASHINGTON, FEBRUARY 21, 2013, SOURCE: AFPTV - VAR of Erwin and John walking outside - CU of Erwin in the church - VAR of the couple in the church SOUNBDITE 1 Erwin De Leon - shot over the shoulder of Erwin and John, with a stained glass window in the background - shot of the couple walking and talking in the church SOUNBDITE 2 John Beddingfield UNDATED FILE IMAGES, WASHINGTON, SOURCE: AFPTV - VAR of the US Supreme Court ROCKVILLE, MD, FEBRUARY 26, 2013, SOURCE: AFPTV - VAR of Edwin and Rodrigo in their kitchen - CU of Rodrigo talking with Edwin looking on SOUNDBITE 3 Edwin Echegoyen - MS of the couple WASHINGTON, 29 JANUARY 2013, SOURCE: US POOL **NO RESALE for non-editorial purposes** - Barack Obama walking on stage to applause - VAR of Barack Obama during his speech ROCKVILLE, MD, FEBRUARY 26, 2013, SOURCE: AFPTV - Edwin laying out photos of their wedding on a table - CU of a photo
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