Associated Press Highlights Doug and Alex: The Fight To Save Their Marriage and Stop Deportation

Alex and Doug recently participated in the NOH8 photo project
They must appear for a deportation hearing in Immigration Court on July 13

Married Binational Lesbian Couple, Together for Ten Years and Raising Three Children, Live in Fear of Deportation

Pictured here with their oldest child when he was five years old, the couple also has two daughters

My wife is from England and we have been in a committed life partner relationship for 10 years. When California allowed lesbian and gay couples to marry we knew immediately that we wanted to get married. We knew we wanted that legal document to secure our future together not only for us, but for our family. My wife and I have been living in California for the past 10 years raising my son. Recently, we adopted two girls to expand our family.

It doesn’t make any sense to me that my wife can become a parent to American children through adoption and be legally married to me, an American citizen, but still has no “legal” status. She does not even have the right to get a driver’s license or a lawful employment. All we want is to have the right to be able to make our life together in this country and raise our children. But for the past decade we have lived with great uncertainty. My wife’s immigration status lapsed, and she stayed. What choice did we have? We could not leave because of our son. And so, we have created a family life for ourselves under tremendous disadvantages and hardships imposed on us by my government. My wife has had no life and no legal identity in this country for the past 10 years because the “government” declares through the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that our marriage is not real. It feels very real to me. I have been supporting our family this whole time and we have had a lot of ups and downs financially. This situation has almost torn us apart too, but we love each other so much and we just want to live a happy life.  That determination keeps us moving forward day by day with a small hope in our hearts.

I keep saying to my wife that it will happen, that one day my own government will stop this insanity. One day the American government will recognize her as my wife and that we will have all the same rights as other married couples. I reassure her, but it’s hard to keep the faith. I know in my heart that one day I will have the same right as all other Americans, to sponsor my spouse and to keep my family intact.  My wife, however, has doubts. Because it’s been so long, she gets stressed out when we leave the house.  Her fear is palpable.  She feels like she has to constantly look over her shoulder and is terrified when she sees a police officer drive by us. She panics that a police officer might pull us over for some routine traffic issue and that may lead to her being discovered and turned over to ICE. She imagines that day coming when she will be taken away.  This constant fear she feels is overwhelming and just not fair. She is a human being and should be treated like one. She is a good wife and mother, why can nobody see what these discriminatory laws are doing to LGBT families like us? We live through so much anxiety, our future is uncertain, we have extreme financial hardship and we are trying to make all of this work and bring up our children to be productive and happy members of society. But our government undermines us by making us all second-class citizens.

Left with no other choice, I almost decided to leave the United States. Even though I truly love my country I felt on occasion that I had to move to England because at least there my wife would have been able to sponsor me for the equivalent of a “green card.” I would have been eligible to work and we would have felt at peace. But, because of my son I had to stay here. I get so angry when I start thinking about our situation and I just want to scream at all those politicians who think they know what the American public wants. We really need something to change, and fast. At this point, it’s not about getting a job and helping out financially. It’s about peace of mind and passing on to our children a life in which their parents are treated with dignity and respect by their own government. For us it is about  knowing you truly belong. We are a family, no matter what anyone else says. We have love, understanding and patience on our side.  Children, however, grow up quickly. They need to know that both their parents will be here for the long term. Can any elected official in Washington look at me in the eye and tell me why it makes sense that this government is not establishing a policy to halt deportations of all spouses of lesbian and gay Americans right now? Can any elected official tell me why our children do not deserve to have the same protections as is provided to all other families under U.S. immigration law?

On behalf of our three beautiful children we ask anyone reading this to join our cause. Help us convince both our U.S. Senators, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, to fight for binational couples and our children.  Yes, DOMA must be repealed or immigration laws must be reformed to include LGBT families. But we must also have protection now.

President Obama: Americans Should Not Be Forced To Choose Between Their Partners and Their Country

This week there was a hopeful sign from the White House. For the first time since we launched the Stop The Deportations, Separations and Exile campaign, the President has signaled his support for lesbian and gay binational couples. In a document called “The Obama Administration’s Commitment to Winning the Future for the LGBT Community,” a follow up fact sheet to the President’s May 31 LGBT Pride Month Proclamation, one of the progress points mentioned specifically addresses the plight of same-sex binational couples.

“President Obama believes … that Americans with partners from other countries should not be faced with a painful choice between staying with their partner or staying in their country.”

We must remind the President, however, that he has the power to realize this goal and issue an immediate moratorium on the deportations of spouses and partners of lesbian and gay Americans. This would provide protection for tens of thousands of binational LGBT families while Congress works to repeal DOMA. (Photo from MetroWeekly)

Married Houston Couple, David and Marco, Fight Deportation Despite Six Years Together As A Couple

The love of my life, David, is from the beautiful country of Costa Rica; it is a place, where—despite its beauty and popularity for American tourists—-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have been victimized in many cruel and horrible ways over the years. Some horrible experiences there caused him to leave and come to this country seeking safety and peace.

I met David almost six years ago. When we saw each other for the first time, we could not stop smiling. On August 21, 2005, we decided to be in a committed relationship. Ever since, every 21st of each month, we have dinner, get flowers and get each other anniversary cards. (Yeah, we have a pretty good collection of cards). We strongly believe that doing so will help us to keep our love alive and strong. At the beginning of 2008, I placed our wedding rings at the bottom of the wine bottle cases celebrating one more month and I proposed. You should have seen David’s face. Our rings read “M & D 08-21-2005”. Then, on April 25th 2008, we filed for domestic partnership and on October 2008, got married in California. Oh, those were awesome moments! We had our family and closest friends from Los Angeles, San Diego and Las Vegas with us celebrating this memorable occasion with us. It was a very simple ceremony, yet full of loving details such as a small path of roses, balloons in the pool, the cake with two men facing each other, a candle with the words “And two shall become one.” For our honeymoon, we went with our friends to Catalina Island in California and then later on, we went to the Niagara Falls in New York.

Our dreams are the same as those of any other married couple: to be happy, to travel, have a good job, buy a house, start a family and grow old together. When we see kids playing around, our hearts are moved. So we decided we wanted kids. We contacted an adoption agency and we started the application process to become adopting parents. We moved to Houston, TX where we were able to afford a house. One dream came true. A house just for the two of us. Now we could start our family.

As a couple, we have gone through many personal and family situations that helped us to grow and have brought us together. Beautiful moments such as spending our birthdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays along with our families; or heartbreaking moments such as seeing my father passing away; seeing David losing a job due to his immigration status; or the day when David got detained by immigration officers. During those moments, we were able to examine our own personalities with all the defects and virtues we both have. Yes, we have had our share of ups and downs. We have had to ask for forgiveness and forgiven each other many times. But our love can do miracles and we keep holding hands to make it through all circumstances we may encounter.

We depend on each other emotionally and economically. We need to pay the mortgage, home owners insurance, flood insurance, house maintenance, auto insurance, bills, medical bills, food, entertainment, etc. While one is mowing the lawn, the other is cleaning the house. Not to mention taking care of Cooper, Ruper and Kitty… Like I said, we are just a regular couple.

My husband’s immigration status has taken its toll on us. He has been in deportation proceedings since August 2006. It has been tiring and it has taken a lot of energy and money. We have felt hopeless and we cannot plan our future. We have had to make heartbreaking decisions such discontinuing the adoption process; quitting the idea of starting a business, all just because we do not know what the future is going to be. How are we going to start a business if next year we may have to pack our stuff and be forced to leave the United States? How are we going to sell the house without losing the money it has been invested in it?… if it sells! It has been so stressful, that we had to look for therapy to cope with the uncertainty and anxiety we live with.

But the most frustrating part of all is that it is our government that is causing us all this pain by enforcing DOMA, rather than repealing it. I should not be treated as a second citizen; we should not go through this pain. We have seen heterosexual friends become permanent residents and citizens since the government does recognize their marriage. But, that is not the case for us. And yet we have paid all taxes to the government.

We sincerely hope that with the momentum gained since the President and the Attorney General announced their changed position on DOMA that we may find new ways to keep fighting for our right to be recognized as what we are…a regular married couple. David’s immigration judge will not only be David’s judge, but mine as well. USCIS will not only give or deny status to David, but to me as well. We need the fighting chance to stay together. We need to ultimately, stay together.

I beg everyone who is reading this to help us stop the deportations. No American citizen should be forced to watch his spouse deported because of a discriminatory law that the President and Attorney General have said is unconstitutional. It will take an enormous effort by many people to convince Janet Napolitano and President Obama to stop the deportations of the spouses of gay and lesbian Americans. But we have tremendous hope and we are committed to winning protection, not only for us, but for all gay and lesbian binational couples living in fear of separation or exile.

Page 3 of 3123
© The DOMA Project

Attorney advertising

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.