VIDEO: Surprise Marriage Proposal By American Visiting Partner in London, Another Couple Separated By DOMA
I departed San Francisco last week to again visit my partner in London. This visit was different however, as I brought along with me a ring and a secret.
After meeting two years ago, Michael and I had no idea how difficult it would be to just be together. As a binational couple, we have been forced to live apart for the last two years, with the exception of frequent visits back and forth. The Defense of Marriage Act prevents me from petitioning for him to be able to immigrate to the U.S. to live with me.
Michael and I are both the type of people that never let anything hold us back—any problem can be overcome. But what we were not prepared for, is that in this case, the law is designed to keep us apart by not recognizing our relationship. This was particularly hard for me to grasp since my brother was able to sponsor his foreign-born wife, while Michael and I had no similar option.
Throughout this time, most aspects of our lives have been put on hold, while careers, housing, doctors, and finances have all been in constant flux. It is also enormously difficult to nurture and grow a relationship while in different countries. When you love someone, you want to build a real life with them, not speak to them online. And yet, we know we are lucky because many couples cannot even enjoy visits because of limited financial means or lack of access to visas. I go to London regularly so that we are together as often as possible and Michael has spent a lot of time in the US, but it is difficult for us to manage the financial burden of a relationship that must be maintained over thousands of miles.
I believe that as we continue to tell the stories of our lives we will advance our country to one where all couples are treated equally under the law. Michael and I see a future in which the Supreme Court strikes down DOMA, and we are able to live together permanently in the United States with access to a green card based on our marriage.
Back to the proposal! I flew to London for one of my regular visits and, secretly, I had planned to propose. As I decided how I would do it, I thought about all that we’ve been through. So much of our experience has been isolating and lonely. Moving frequently, friends not knowing how to ask how things are, and feeling unsupported by my government. I knew that I wanted this gesture to show community and support as we continue our fight to be together. I did not do this proposal quietly or in a private place. Instead, I used the cafeteria of the London office of my company and, as you can see in the video below, I involved a few hundred people in the project.
Five minutes before the proposal, all of the TV screens in the cafe showed a timer countdown. At about 10 seconds, Michael remarked “it’s really busy in here. Also, what’s the timer for?” I won’t ruin the ending, but I think you’ll enjoy watching this video.
Please feel free to share this with others, and if you are a binational couple impacted by DOMA like us, share your story with The DOMA Project. It is through telling our stories that we show the impact that these policies have had on our families, and we stand up and are counted. We know our love will conquer any of the barriers put in our path.