Judy Rickard took an early retirement and a reduced pension so she could be assured of more time with her partner, a British citizen whose stays in the U.S. are limited to six months.
Rickard, 61, would have preferred to keep working at San Jose State University and sponsor her partner, Karin Bogliolo, for residency in the United States, just as heterosexual couples can. But U.S. law does not allow for that.
"If you're going to have a system that's designed to keep families together, it should focus on keeping families together," Rickard said.
That could soon change, as more than 100 lawmakers in the House and about 20 in the Senate have signed onto bills that would add the United States to the 19 countries that already recognize same-sex couples for immigration purposes.
Gay rights groups are encouraged that President Obama has signaled that he would like to include couples like Rickard and Bogliolo in the bills.