Brian and Alonso Have Endured Five Years of Expensive Travel Between Kansas City and Peru, Separated by DOMA
In late summer of 2008, I began talking to Alonso online on a chat site. Alonso was working at a ski resort in Mt. Hood, Oregon on a cultural exchange visa. I was living in Kansas City. We quickly grew together and realized that we not only had a lot in common but were also drawn to each other. We soon decided to meet in person. We arranged a trip in early 2009, and Alonso flew to see me in Kansas City. We had a wonderful time. Knowing that our time was limited by the short duration of his visa, we were able to arrange a second trip so that he could see me in Kansas City before he returned to Peru. The trip was brief but well worth it to both of us. By the time he got on the plane, we knew that we wanted to stay together.
As we stayed together, we soon found out that the cards were stacked against us. Plane tickets between Kansas City and Peru are quite expensive. Yet, in the summer of 2009, I was able to fly to Peru to see Alonso and meet his family. We had a wonderful time together and life was very good for those days; however, my looming departure date was a sadness for us both. We did not give up though, and that winter Alonso was again able to obtain a cultural exchange Visa to work at a supermarket in Colorado. I had missed Alonso a lot and flew to Houston so that he and I would be on the same flight to Colorado so that we would have some moments together before his godparents picked him up at the airport. We kept in contact by cell phone and online while he was in Colorado. At the end of his trip we again arranged for him to visit me in Kansas City before returning to Peru. Once more we were delighted to be together.
After Alonso’s return to Peru, we stayed in contact almost daily through Skype and were falling more deeply in love. Toward the end of the summer in 2010, I was again able to travel to Peru to see Alonso. We had a great time and knew that we would keep fighting for more moments together. However, our visits were becoming harder due to the cost of international flights, and we both needed to save money for future trips. Alonso was having trouble finding work in Peru and spent most of the next two years working on cruise ships to earn money to save for himself and his family. We did not let this stop us either as we kept in constant contact through email and were occasionally able to see each other on Skype or talk on the phone. I sent him letters weekly and he was also able to send some as well even though he had very little time other than to work and to sleep.
Our love was strengthened, not weakened by being physically apart. Alonso later applied for a tourist visa so that he could come and spend a month with me in Kansas City. We enjoyed many sites and special moments but the best moments were not because of what we were doing but simply because we were together. More determined than ever to get with Alonso, I have once more purchased airline tickets to visit Peru in late summer of this year. As with all of our trips, we are both looking forward to it. Being apart is hard on both of us even though we talk and see each other nightly on Skype. There is no comparison to being with the one you love and not separated by a computer screen and thousands of miles.
Marriage should be a fundamental right to everyone, but DOMA prohibits me from exercising that right. DOMA prevents me from beginning the process of sponsoring Alonso to emigrate to the United States as my spouse–a right enjoyed by thousands of heterosexual couples every year. If it weren’t for DOMA, we could have had a fiancé visa approved by now. We have written Senators, U.S. Representatives, and looked for any and all legal options that would allow him to stay here and start a life together with me. Yet, every road we go down leads to a brick wall because gay couples are not afforded the same rights as heterosexual couples in the United States of America.
Our story is one of love and also of loss. Because of the Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA), the time we have to be together is limited to a few weeks per year. We’re forced to spend large sums of money just to be together for that limited amount of time. Because of this, we lack the stability that a heterosexual couple would come to expect in our situation. Nonetheless, we have grown in our love, and we have known that we wanted to spend our lives together from the beginning. This love motivates us to keep going through the most difficult of times. It also motivates us to raise our voice and share our story. Please share our story far and wide to raise awareness of DOMA’s cruel consequences for gay and lesbian binational couples like us. By sharing stories like ours we continue to change hearts and minds, ensuring a swift end to DOMA and a smooth transition to the post-DOMA reality.
Thank you for taking the time to read and share our story. By doing so, you bring us one day closer to Alonso’s and my dream of building a life together.
I love you, Alonso. -Brian