Newlyweds Ben and Dario Speak Out Against DOMA
Dario and I had something special from the time we met in July 2010. On that first date, we had an instant connection – sharing our histories, our passions in life and our hopes for the future. I had met a partner for life. When, the following month, I was unfortunate enough to get quite sick, Dario took care of me every day to see to my quick recovery. Seeing his compassionate face each day as I struggled to improve made me smile through the pain.
The first few months of our relationship were intense; we saw each other every day and slowly introduced our lives and friends to each other. We were committed to each other early on in the relationship and decided to further commit when we began living together later that year. Not only were we joining ourselves together under one roof, but our little family included our dogs as well.
It seems every day we learn more and more about each other, and gain a further appreciation for the other. Dario has introduced me to his friends both here in the U.S. and in Argentina, as well as the family he has left in Argentina. Dario would very much like to share with me his cultural heritage and introduce me to his friends and family in Argentina in person, but we are unable to at this time. Communications with family abroad must be done online, as it is impossible for Dario to leave the U.S. for fear he will be not be allowed to return. Fortunately, my parents and Dario have bonded on a number of occasions when they have visited us in New Jersey and when we have made extended summer visits to their home in New Mexico. Each year, when we visit my family there, we drive across the country hoping to minimize the risk that Dario’s immigration status may be discovered and he may be taken away from me. The stress of Dario’s inability to obtain legal status hangs over us. All we are doing is taking a family road trip, but anxiety and fear mars what should be a fun and relaxing adventure.
My family has come to love Dario, and considers him to be a part of the family. Last summer, we decided to further our commitment to each other by getting married in New York. With close friends present, we had tears in our eyes as the officiant presiding over the ceremony declared us to be married. I feel blessed to be able to marry in a state that recognizes my love and treats it as equal. On our summer trip to New Mexico in 2012, we had a gathering of friends from the area and our family from the West Coast to celebrate our union. In August we hosted a formal reception at our home with close to 70 guests – family, friends, and co-workers. It was truly one of the most special moments of my life to have all those close to me celebrating the love and commitment that Dario and I hold for each other.
My inability to petition for Dario’s green card based on our marriage, a right any heterosexual binational couple enjoys, has denied us the opportunity to make plans and build a future together. Our inability to travel together out of the United States means that we are often separated for weeks each year as my job involves a lot of foreign travel.
Dario and I have made a home together, and our commitment to each other continues to grow stronger. However, every day we struggle with the fear of the possibility that our home may be destroyed by the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act which prevents the federal government from recognizing our marriage, including for immigration purposes. Because of this cruel law, the government does not see the love we share or the home we have built together. As a couple, we are invisible.
Dario and I hope to purchase our first home together, and in this process we are reminded how much is at stake with the Supreme Court’s upcoming ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act. We know that unless it is repealed or struck down, we will eventually be forced into exile in Argentina. We have joined the DOMA Project because we believe that we must speak out about the injustice of DOMA in order to bring about change. Without this change our lives, like tens of thousands of other binational couples, are on hold. We urge you to sign The DOMA Project’s petition (click here) to President Obama asking that green card petitions filed by same-sex binational couples be put on hold until the Supreme Court ruling. This important step toward greater equality would protect couples like us in the short term and prepare for a day when our green card petition can be approved.