Showdown with DOMA: Mark & Fred Meet With USCIS and Fight for Their Family at Green Card Interview in Philadelphia

After 22 Years Together, Married Gay Couple With Four Adopted
Children Fights For Their Marriage And Their Family

In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Mark Himes & Frédéric Deloizy
Are on the Front Lines of The Fight Against DOMA

Press Inquiries to attorney, Lavi Soloway , Masliah & Soloway, PC
Founder, Stop The Deportations – The DOMA Project
Phone 323-599-6915
[email protected] or
[email protected]

January 10, 2012 – NEW YORK, NEW YORK

When she wakes up on Wednesday, January 11, Claire, 8, will have a lot more to consider than the earrings she is wearing for school. Her ears were pierced as a Christmas present: a gift, she told her dad, that she had been waiting for her whole life. The Christmas tree is still up in her home, but the presents under it have all been unwrapped, and emptied, naturally. Her three brothers, John, Jacob, and Joshua, ages six through eleven, received a small arsenal of toys that have been played with and are already causing mayhem, posing tripping hazards in the hallway until Papa will offer to buy the toys back and tuck them away for safe-keeping or risk further neglect. On the surface, everything is as it should be. But John, Claire, Jacob, and Joshua are ordinary kids under extraordinary circumstances.

On January 11th, Daddy and Papa will appear before a Philadelphia Immigration Officer for a “Green Card” interview to put forward evidence of their 22-year relationship and their marriage. The goal? To be allowed to stay together with their children in this country. For a married gay couple in which one spouse is foriegn, the process of applying for permanent resident status is not straightforward. Frederick Deloizy is a French national, and, as a foreigner who has seen both his work visa and his student visa expire, the time he has left to share with his family may now be limited.

Frédéric Deloizy and Mark Himes, a US citizen were wed in California in 2008, 18 years after they first met. They represent a growing number of same-sex couples with a partner of foreign nationality at risk of separation because immigration officials are barred from recognizing their marriage under the federal Defense of Marriage Act. By contrast, any bi-national opposite-sex couple in their position would never face a future as uncertain. Despite the hurdles they face, Fred and Mark decided that they must fight for the green card based on their marriage. To do less, would be to accept the discrimination that has put their family in such a precarious position.

But theirs is a story not only about the federal government’s lack of recognition of same-sex marriage, but the legal limbo that it creates for same-sex bi-national couples with children. In two decades together, they have adopted four beautiful children, now ranging in age from six to eleven. A patchwork of incoherent legislation means that while they are recognized legally as same-sex adoptive parents in Pennsylvania, the federal govenrment refuses to recognize their marriage. They welcomed their two oldest children, John and Claire, just days after their respective birthdays in 2000 and 2003. On their 19th anniversary in April 2009, Fred and Mark welcomed Jacob and Joshua, both four years old at the time. All four of the kids would have remained wards of the state, dependent on government coffers, shuffled from one foster home to the next, if Mark and Fred had not provided a loving, stable home. Instead, they now have a Daddy and a Papa, and siblings, toys they may take for granted, and a loving home in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania that may soon be torn apart.

Their interview comes just one week after the Iowa caucuses and the day after the New Hampshire primary in the backdrop of an election season where candidates jostling for position to become the Republican presidential nominee have fallen over each other to convince audiences that they are the most opposed to marriages of same-sex couples. And they are fully aware that Pennsylvania’s former Senator, Rick Santorum, is the most vitriolic. Last week, he promised that if elected he would annul all same-sex marriages. In this weekend’s candiate debates, Santorum and his fellow Republican candidates made clear that they are equally opposed to adoption by same-sex couples. Mark and Fred see this as an attack on their family. It is hard to ignore the hypocrisy of this rhetoric, as it comes from individuals who are supposedly espousing the primacy of family values. Children deserve to have a loving home and loving parents. The four children in this loving home may yet see their family ripped apart, one of their parents exiled abroad because of the Defense of Marriage Act. The law is poorly named, because it defends no one’s marriage, but threatens to destroy this one.  Laws in both the U.S. and France create significant challenges to this couple of nearly 22 years. While France recognizes same-sex relationships as civil unions and may allow Mark to immigrate there, France does not recognize same-sex adoption and consequently, does not acknowledge that they are both legal parents of their children for immigration (or any other) purpose.

Mark and Fred have put their efforts over the past few years into staying in the United States, building their home, and putting down their roots. As they await a decision on whether 2012 will be the year their family is torn apart they have decided to take the fight to their elected officials and to the President, himself a son of a binational couple.  At best, the administrative agency could choose to do what Mark and Fred consider “the right thing” and place their case into abeyance until litigation concerning the constitutionality of DOMA makes its way to the Supreme Court. At worst, Fred may be placed into deportation proceedings, their nightmare scenario. Meanwhile, the family is in a state of limbo, and it pains them as parents when they can’t answer their children with certainty about the future. They can only preparing themselves, mentally and emotionally, to fight for full equality under the law.

See full post here.

STOP THE DEPORTATIONS, SEPARATIONS AND EXILE – THE DOMA PROJECT, a campaign co-founded by attorney, Lavi Soloway in July 2010 along with his law partner, Noemi Masliah, has contributed to the trend of recent victories for lesbian and gay couples who are faced with deportation, separation or exile because of the Defense of Marriage Act. For nearly two decades, Soloway has been the most prominent attorney and advocate on LGBT immigration law and policy in the United States. He has worked exclusively in this field since co-founding the non-profit organization, Immigration Equality, in 1993.

No comments

  • Robert Federico

    There is no reason to separate this couple. Mr. Deloizy entered this country legally. He has not committed a crime and has brought benefits to 4 American children. I hope the President takes action.

    January 10, 2012
  • Tracey

    The integrity of this family unit is evident. These are happy, healthy and loved children. Something many different sexed parents sadly never achieve. Political battles have no place here. If this were my family I could not bear it. Bless them all and pray that they be left alone.

    January 11, 2012
  • Steven Boyce

    I have oftentimes said “Why can’t we focus our attention and energy on getting everyone a job and making sure children do not go to bed hungry.” Now here it is – two very capable providers and FOUR children in a warm, loving, comfortable home. They ARE a family!! If not allowed to continue as the family they know this will be one of the most cruel, heartless government directives I have ever heard of.

    January 11, 2012
  • Mary M

    Every same sex binational couple children or not should have the right to be here together if that is their choosing, after all hetrosexual couple’s do not have to think of creative ways to stay together they just do.

    January 11, 2012
    • Margaret

      Actually, this british but living in Americ heterosexually married couple is jumping though all sorts of hoops at the moment!
      we were married in 1994 in a recognised church and have a proper marriage certificte. My wife transitioned male to female in 2008-11 and now lives as female, but still retains her birth certificate which says that she is male. Howeve, the state we live in is insisting that we are a same sex domestic partnership and is trying to get us to sign an affidavit do that effect, thus annulling our legal marriage! how’s about that?

      February 21, 2012
  • Mark and Fred, a couple for twenty years, married for two, epitomise everything that is good and wholesome, not only about a gay relationship, but about marriage itself. The only difference between them and a monogamous heterosexual couple raising children is that these parents are of the same gender.

    Mark and Fred adopted four children who had all been discarded, for whatever reason, by their heterosexual biological parents. Such gay couples who might otherwise be childless are providing a hugely valuable social resource, because they actually want and love the children they care for, children who would otherwise languish, abandoned in orphanages.

    So, let the holier-than-thou religionists turn such families away if that’s all they’re good for, they will drown soon enough in their own hypocrisy and vainglorious introversion. When it comes to the state however, it will have done its job properly when it grants equal status to all its parents.

    As for adoption, we should remember that this is not about any “right to adopt”, it is children who have the greater right – to have someone to look after them, someone to love, and someone to love them. The fact that there are so many homeless children in orphanages in the first place, shows that not all heterosexual parents have proved to be up to the task.

    January 12, 2012
    • Brad M

      Right on Derek! This is an excellent example of how DOMA destroys loving families and helps no one. I am thrilled that this is getting the attention it deserves.

      January 13, 2012
  • lou

    the same rights for all citizens, we cannot accept anything less.
    this story makes my heart break, this family deserves the right to be.
    until the laws change the land of liberty and freedom you are not.

    January 22, 2012
  • Harrison

    What a beautiful, courageous family! :) Keep up the fight. We will prevail.

    January 26, 2012
  • Margaret

    This is appalling – I really hope that USCIS ‘does the right thing’.

    February 21, 2012

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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.