A New Zealand woman’s wedding plans is in limbo after Immigration New Zealand refused to grant a visitor visa for her female partner from Turkey.
Elisa Garcia, 20, a student from Te Puke, met her partner Nour Malla, 22, a graphic design student, online in March last year.
Garcia travelled in July and October to Lebanon, where Malla was currently staying with family, and stayed with them for a month each time.
Love developed, they got engaged and planned to get married in New Zealand on their first anniversary this March.
The decision to decline Malla’s visa was made by officers in INZ’s Beijing office.
“I believe the reason for declining the visa is because we are a same sex couple, and the application was assessed in Beijing, China, a country where… people are being put into camps for being gay,” Garcia said.
Same-sex couples are generally frowned upon in China, and until 2001 being gay was regarded as a mental illness.
Garcia said they felt “hopeless and hurt” because there were no avenues for them to appeal the INZ decision.
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