In Matter of Anthony, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) reversed an immigration judge's ruling denying a Jamaican gay immigrant's application for protection under the U.N. Convention Against Torture (CAT). The BIA disagreed with the immigration judge's determination that Anthony did not present enough evidence to confirm his sexual orientation. The BIA noted that Anthony's credible testimony about his sexual orientation may be sufficient to sustain the burden of proof without corroboration. In this case, Anthony explained that he realized he was gay when he was 25 but – like many other lesbian, gay, and bisexual people – continued to struggle for years to come to terms with his sexual orientation, both because of homophobia in his family and community, and reinforced by the anti-gay religious views of his family.
The BIA identified sufficient corroborating evidence on the record to complement Anthony's testimony, including the testimony of current and former partners and other witnesses, such as a religious leader who provided Anthony with pastoral counseling on sexual orientation issues. The record also included a psychological evaluation concerning Anthony's past persecution based on his sexual orientation. The BIA reversed the Immigration Judge's determination that Anthony did not submit sufficient corroborating evidence to meet his burden of proof and demonstrate his sexual orientation.
The Center for HIV Law and Policy and Lambda Legal filed a friend-of-the-court (amicus) brief in this case in support of Anthony. The brief, which was cited twice in the BIA's decision, explained that for many lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals, acknowledging that one is lesbian, gay or bisexual is often a prolonged process. The brief also explained that gay men often face a uniquely intense form of persecution in Jamaica. Homophobia and ignorance about HIV are reflected in, and compounded by, the widely-held perception in Jamaica of gay men as vectors of disease. Gay men are presumed to be HIV positive and treated as dangerous to be around.
The friend-of-the-court brief was filed on behalf of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, the National Association of Social Workers, the National Association of Social Workers Connecticut Chapter, the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries, the National Black Justice Coalition, the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut.