Gay man claims bias at SJ Mexican Consulate

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The Bay Area Reporter 

A gay man claims he was discriminated against at the Mexican Consulate in San Jose when a clerk refused to change his passport to reflect his married name.

Cesar Rowe-Pasos, 42, lives in Santa Cruz and was granted a green card earlier this month, after arriving in the United States 14 years ago.

He planned to visit family in Mexico, but needed to renew his passport first. Following the advice of his immigration lawyer, he went to the consulate on February 11 with his original green card, marriage certificate, driver’s license, and application for renewal.

“The lady started to ask me basic questions like where I live and then asked if I had a phone number for a relative she could contact. I said ‘Yes, Greg Rowe, my husband,”‘ Rowe-Pasos told the Bay Area Reporter in an interview last week.

After learning Rowe-Pasos was married to a man, the clerk’s attitude and body language began to change, Rowe-Pasos said.

“She was shocked,” he said. “Her body language changed when I said ‘husband.'”

The clerk then proceeded to process Rowe-Pasos’ passport renewal application, he said, and eventually gave him back his documents. When he inquired about having his name changed on his passport to his married name, the woman said she couldn’t do that because Rowe-Pasos’ documents weren’t original. She did renew his passport, but did not change his last name. Rowe-Pasos paid $74 for the renewal.

Rowe-Pasos’ immigration lawyer, Janely Mendoza with the East Bay Community Law Center, though not present at the consulate, confirmed that Rowe-Pasos had an original passport, driver’s license, green card, and marriage certificate.

“He’s very diligent in reviewing everything that is required, and double checked with his attorney at the time that he took everything necessary,” Mendoza told the B.A.R.

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