Gay California Couple Joins Challenge to Defense of Marriage Act, Fight Deportation

Submitted by Douglas Gentry

I am a 53-year old American citizen born in Indianapolis. I met Carlos Alejandro Benshimol (he goes by the name Alex) in June of 2005. Alex is a 46-year old Venezuelan man who has lived in the United States for over 10 years. At the time I met Alex I was working in Palm Springs Monday through Friday and traveling home to Los Angeles on weekends. Our relationship grew more intense over the next year. We knew that we loved each other and that we wanted to stay together as a committed couple. In July 2006 we purchased a house together close to where we had been living in Cathedral City. In December of 2006 Alex and I opened a shop together in Palm Springs, Alex’s Pet Grooming.
In the spring of 2007 we moved my father from Los Angeles to a retirement complex very close to our home. My father was older and disabled. He didn’t need full time help but, having him close, we were able to help him with laundry, grocery shopping and medical appointments.

Alex and my father loved each other very much and had a great relationship. I was very grateful for how much Alex helped care for my dad. I was still traveling for work and never needed to worry about him when I was out of town.
My father died in the spring of 2008. Alex was there for me and helped me through a very difficult time. Alex and my family embraced each other from the start. He grew to know my ex-wife, my two children and become an instant member of a large extended family: including my sister, her husband and 3 children, mother and brothers in law and spouses. We divide spending holidays and occasions together between our home in Cathedral City and their homes in Los Angeles. Alex has a great relationship with my kids and has been incredibly supportive through several extremely difficult times.

Alex Benshimol and Douglas Gentry Getting Married

We all value his opinions and advice and I’m grateful for the support he provides. Both my son and daughter consider him to be their other dad.
Alex and I knew for a long time that we wanted to get married. We loved each other and had been happy in our relationship for years. Unfortunately we missed the window of opportunity to marry in our own state, so we decided to marry in Connecticut. We were married on July 21, 2010 at the beautiful Lockwood Mathews Mansion in Norwalk by State Senator Bob Duff. However, despite our happiness and our celebration we have to deal with the very stark and difficult reality that Alex now faces deportation proceedings. We are fighting to keep him in this country and fighting the discrimination against us as a gay couple because of the Defense of Marriage Act. Right after we married, I filed a petition for a green card for Alex on the basis of our marriage. I did this because I love him dearly and I want to spend the rest of my life together with him. Venezuela is not an option for him or for us as a couple because it is so dangerous for gay people.
Alex and I have been together for over five and a half years. I’m grateful for having found him every day of my life. And now I’m thankful to be able to call him my husband. Now I want my government to give me the complete rights that every US citizen has, to live my life together with my spouse in peace and without fear of separation.

No comments

  • I commend you on this iniciative. I'm living abroad with my partner, because I decided it would be less of a hassle than staying in the US. My livelihood has been significantly affected, as I was a practicing attorney in the US and now I am a teacher in Mexico. It has been a little over 5 years since I moved, I don't regret it, nonetheless, I really wish I could be closer to home to help my elderly grandmother and spend a lot more time with my parents. One thing I would like to point out is that when talking about UAFA, DOMA and immigration issues, we, that have chosen exile rather than separation should be counted in. It seems to me, I could be mistaken, that Immigration Equality, Out4Immigration and others, don't quantify the US citizens that are currently exiled because of American Immigration policy towards this issue. I personally know a bunch of binational couples that are currently living in Latinamerica or Europe. And, let me point out that I am constantly keeping tabs on this and other issues, I vote, I write to Congess, I get all my news from US sources (network TV, newspapers and web based). I feel more engaged in US polics now than at any other point in my life. In short, I feel my voice and votes counts as much as that of those who are living in the US.

    October 25, 2010
  • Lavi Soloway

    Sin Remedio:
    Thank you for your comment. Please contact us at stopthedeportations [AT] We are eager to include exiled binational couples and those who live in separate countries as part of this project.
    Lavi Soloway

    October 25, 2010
  • Michael Hansen

    After exzusting all options for trying to bring my partner here from the Phillippines I have decided to leave the bigioted U.S. and move to Bangkok Thailand. I just cannot stand this waiting and not knowing if we will ever have equal rights. I am so mad at this country and feel I have no other options if I want to be with the person I love. I wish some how all of us going through this could have a platform to tell out stories so that the American people would see what there government is doing to it's citizens. Hopefully some day I can return with my partner.
    Michael Hansen

    October 25, 2010
  • Lavi Soloway

    This is your platform. Contact me at StopTheDeportations [AT] and we can add your story to this page. We are actively encouraging gay couples living in exile to join this effort.
    Lavi Soloway

    October 25, 2010

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This is a pro-bono project of the law firm of Masliah & Soloway, PC. Posts on this website are offered for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. The law firm of Masliah & Soloway, PC has offices in New York and Los Angeles. Our practice is limited to U.S. Immigration & Nationality Law.