FIGHTING TO STAY TOGETHER: Inger and Philippa Forced Apart by DOMA For Now, Brought Closer with Wedding Vows

Marrying in Iowa – April, 2012

In just a few days I will be forced to leave my wife, our child, and our home behind in the United States because our family isn’t recognized or respected under the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  Last September, my family and I came to the conclusion that Inger and I needed to be legally married in the States. On April 3, 2012 we drove from our home state to Iowa (the closest marriage equality state) and tie the knot. We chose April 3rd because it is the anniversary of our first commitment ceremony three years ago.

I confess I was scared stiff of getting married, like anyone would be.  But deep down I had no doubt that it was right choice for my beautiful wife and me. I wanted our family to have the stability that a legal marriage provides, and that society provides for legal spouses. But I know that, at the federal level, our marriage does not mean we are any closer to being together permanently because of DOMA and current U.S. immigration laws.  But for me it makes all the difference on an emotional level.  It means everything to my family, that Inger and I are married, not “married”, and that we are legally recognized as one another’s wife.

Kissing the Bride

The folks in Story County, Iowa were absolutely amazing on our big day. There was no hint of disapproval or judgment. We both walked in wearing political t-shirts (“Some chicks marry chicks. Get over it.“) and collected the paperwork we needed to get hitched. When we returned later that day after the ceremony, they couldn’t have been more complimentary and well wishing to us.

So a big thank you, from my whole family, to everyone who helped us that day in Story County. Also a big thanks to our friend April, who arranged everything for us, to Gary, who saved us when we needed a second witness, and to Homie, for performing the ceremony and providing the beautiful scenic location.

Our marriage has truly changed the way I feel about so much in just a few days. Even though leaving so soon breaks me in two, I felt so fortunate to have seen my wife happier than I have ever seen before. The joy in her eyes means everything to me. I know that this was the right decision for our family, and I am more motivated than ever to tell the world about how much my family deserves basic equal respect

Us in front of the Story County, Iowa Registrar’s Office

The timing of this trip was not just about us getting married. It was also about Easter and our daughter’s birthday. Turning 12 is a big deal and I was happy to be there for her big day. I know there will be more special days, but an unjust law should never be allowed to deny me those moments.

On a bittersweet note, when we booked the flights we didn’t know the dates of our daughter’s spring show. It turns out that her big performance is two days after I leave. I have not been able to see her perform in person once in the last four years of our family being together. I can only see my daughter via videos from her school. I feel gutted to be honest. But there is no way I can change my flights right now to make this happen. It pains me to know that my wife will sit in the school auditorium watching our talented daughter’s great performance. I will only share it with her via text messages. I truly cherish every moment I get to spend with my family.  I just want to be a great wife and great parent. I want to be able to show them how proud of am of their amazing achievements.

Until DOMA is repealed I do not get to start doing that.

I tell our story to the world because I know that sharing our experiences, sharing our lives, will lead to change we need. It has been over four years of traveling back and forth, and I genuinely love my wife more with every day. I never regret the path that I have chosen because I know that when we have true equality and our life can begin together properly, that the moments we spent apart will feel like distant memories. The fact that she married me is just the next step in our big adventure…

On behalf of everyone involved with the Stop the Deportations – the DOMA Project campaign, we extend heartfelt congratulations to Inger & Philippa.

No comments

  • Gabriel

    I hope this will change soon. Whoever wins next elections must change this. Or, at least The Judicial Power.

    April 19, 2012
    • Mary

      Gabriel we all pray for change soon but if the Republicans get in we can say good bye to it happening for at least another four years.

      April 20, 2012
  • Mary

    So Happy for you both sorry you had to leave so soon afterwards to go back to the UK I am on the other side of Iowa. Hopefully we can all be together soon

    April 20, 2012
  • Ron

    Many congratulations to both of you. I have posted your story all of my blogs, boards, and walls to help bring attention to yours and others story along this same line.

    April 21, 2012
  • Sheila Sullivan

    It’s a pretty sad situation when a country who claims they are the best in the world and holds themselves up as a standard bearer of human rights would deny one of their own citizens the right to simply be in their own country with the person they love.

    April 28, 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.