Jorge Soto Vega, a 38-year old Mexican gay man who has just been granted asylum to stay in the United States. Soto Vega first applied for asylum back in 2003, insisting that he had been harassed and beaten by police back home. A judge denied his claim, insisting he could make his life easier by cloaking his sexuality, saying, “it would not be obvious that he was homosexual unless he made it obvious himself.”
An appeals court, however, said that it is not the court’s place to tell Soto Vega to “cover up”, if you will, and thus the case went back to the original judge. Said judge, a one John D. Taylor, seemed to have a change of heart. The Los Angeles Times reports:
The case was returned to Taylor after the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled it is the government’s responsibility to prove Soto Vega had no “well-founded fear of persecution” in Mexico.
At the hearing Tuesday, the judge agreed that a person should not have to conceal his or her sexual orientation in order to be free from persecution, said Jon W. Davidson, legal director at Lambda Legal, a nonprofit gay-rights group… Davidson, who represented Soto Vega, said there was “overwhelming testimony showing severe persecution of gays in all areas of Mexico and therefore the inability of [Soto Vega] to move safely to any other area.”
It’s a bit funny, isn’t is: Soto Vega can enter a civil union in Mexico City, but still feels safer in America, where gays have truncated rights. Although, we suppose we’d rather get treated like second-class citizens than beat down.