Harassment and abuse of gay men and lesbians is becoming increasingly accepted as grounds for legal asylum in the United States, even at a time of conservative judicial activism, fear about HIV/AIDS transmission and increased scrutiny of asylum seekers. The government does not disclose a breakdown of reasons for granting asylum petitions, but legal advocacy groups in several major U.S. cities said they have won dozens of cases.
Homosexuality, once a de facto condition for barring foreigners from entering the country, is now officially recognized by the U.S. government as a category that might subject individuals to persecution in their homeland, just as if they were political dissidents in a dictatorship or religious minority members in a theocracy.
One reason is that applicants face multiple burdens of proof. They must demonstrate that they were abused or harassed by authorities, not merely by angry relatives or drunken hooligans, or that the authorities failed to protect them. They must also prove that they were abused because they are homosexual -- and thus prove that they are, in fact, gay.
Hopefully, a major election disaster for the GOP in 2008 will prevent the USA from becoming a dictatorship or theocracy. Otherwise, these applicants might be wiser to consider apply to Canada for asylum. In fact, if Canada applies the same standards as cited above, based on my own experiences in Virginia, I might already qualify for asylum in Canada. See the complete story here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/09/AR2007070902027.html?nav=rss_print/asection