Josh & Henry’s “Save Our Marriage” Facebook Page Tops 7,000 Supporters in Ten Days

If you haven’t yet visited their Facebook page and shared it with your Facebook friends, please check it out here.

Josh & Henry’s Fight Featured on AOL News

[Joshua] Vandiver said he feels like he’s been treated like a second-class citizen in his own country. “It’s discriminatory to me as a U.S. citizen that I can’t have a successful petition for my spouse’s green card,” he told AOL News. “It’s an injustice toward me and Americans like me.”
“As a gay man I need to stand up for my beliefs when there are so many other couples out there. We are fighting for them too,” [Henry Velandia] told AOL News.
The men said they aren’t yet sure what they’ll do if Velandia is deported. “Trying to imagine me being separated from Josh is just — it’s like I see my world crumbling apart. We’re in love.”

Read the full article here.

Dallas Voice: Gay Binational Couple Copes With Separation “Playing The Waiting Game”

David Taffet writes about Cannon Flowers and RafiQ Salleh’s struggle with frequent separations and reflects upon the broader issues facing similarly situated couples.

Flowers said he always wakes up at 4 a.m. and that’s when he feels loneliest. It’s 5 p.m. in Singapore, the time when the U.S. embassy closes. If he hasn’t heard anything by then, it will be at least another 24 hours before he hears whether he and his partner of 14 years will be reunited.

Read the complete article here.

Freedom To Marry Launches Petition Drive for Henry Velandia and Repeal of DOMA

Freedom to Marry is the most prominent marriage equality organization in the United States. Evan Wolfson, its founder and Executive Director, is a former senior staff attorney at Lambda Legal Defense where he headed the Marriage Project. Today, Freedom to Marry launched this petition drive. Please sign the petition and join Josh and Henry’s Facebook page, “Save Our Marriage.”

Blogger Andrew Sullivan On the Defense of Marriage Act and Binational Couples

“America increasingly becomes the one place in the Western world where gay relationships and marriages do not, as far as the federal government is concerned, exist.” -Andrew Sullivan writing about the impact of the Defense of Marriage Act on binational couples. Read the full post here.

Gay City News: Uniting American Love

Today, Paul Schindler, editor of New York’s Gay City News, published an extraordinarily thoughtful article featuring Monica & Cristina and Josh & Henry and their fight against DOMA. Read the full article here.

Glenn Greenwald: Inhumane Impact of DOMA

Best-selling author, Glenn Greenwald, is a constitutional and civil rights legal expert, frequent television commentator and lecturer.  He is also half of a binational couple. He lives in Brazil with his partner where he has been granted immigration status based on his relationship.

Yesterday, Glenn Greenwald posted this extensive examination of the impact of the Defense of Marriage Act of lesbian and gay binational couples.

“…the human costs from this conduct are severe, though often overlooked. One of the most destructive aspects of DOMA is that it bars gay Americans who are married to a foreign national — an increasingly common situation for Americans generally in a globalized world — from obtaining a marriage-based visa for their same-sex foreign spouse. By contrast, Americans who are married to a foreign national of the opposite sex receive more or less automatic visas and then Green Cards for their spouse, entitling them to live together in the U.S.”

Read the entire article here on Salon.com where Glenn Greenwald is a contributing writer.

Monica and Cristina: Binational Lesbian Couple in Queens Fights DOMA and Deportation

See update here (March 21, 2011).

Monica Alcota and Cristina Ojeda Exchanging Vows

My name is Cristina Ojeda and I am an American citizen. I work as a social worker and live with my wife, Monica Alcota, in Queens, New York. Monica is a citizen of Argentina, although she left that country many years ago because of anti-gay persecution, hoping to find a safe life and a new start in America.
I have known Monica Alcota for over two years and have been in a romantic relationship with her since July 3, 2008.  In May 2008 when we first met online, Monica lived in New York City and I lived in Buffalo where I was going to graduate school.  After a few online conversations we decided to talk over the phone because we both found something interesting about each other. After several lengthy phone conversations the attraction became even stronger and meeting in person was something we both longed for. Monica decided to surprise me and traveled to see me in Buffalo, NY on July 3, 2008 and it was then that we decided to make the relationship official and committed to each other romantically.

Monica Alcota and Cristina Ojeda at the Marriage Equality Wedding March
September 26, 2010

Monica returned to her obligations back to New York City and I stayed in Buffalo, but we decided to spend my last month before school started again together. I traveled to New York City and stayed with Monica. Once school started I returned to Buffalo but came to visit Monica at least once a month during the first semester. I spent my winter break with Monica instead of going to visit my parents and we had our first Christmas and New Year’s together as a couple. During my last semester I arranged my schedule to have Thursdays and Fridays off and I traveled every Wednesday night to New York City to spend long weekends with her. Monica and I grew more and more committed to each other.We agreed to move in together after I finished graduate school in 2009. Once that happened I looked for and found employment in New York. We have been living together for over a year now and our relationship has grown stronger. We are as close and committed as two people in love can be. After experiencing a series of devastating events I realized that I need Monica by my side and that I did not want to be separated from her. I am in love with her and decided that there was no better way to show my love for her and celebrate our union than by marrying each other. I am happy about the decision I have made because Monica has given me many of the things I was missing in my life, she has taught me many amazing things and I look forward to having a family with her and spending many years together.
I have filed a “Petition for Alien Relative” for my wife Monica because I love her. I believe that my government should grant this petition so that Monica can become a permanent resident and so that we can live together like any other couple that is deeply in love and committed to each other.
Monica is currently in deportation proceedings. She was taken into custody when the Border Patrol boarded a bus she was on in upstate New York. It was on our way back from our last trip to Buffalo as we had gone to get my belongings to finally move in together. That random day changed our lives. She was placed in a detention facility for three long and horrible months, which was the worst time we had both experienced in our lives. Monica left Argentina because of homophobia and intolerance that forced her to flee in fear of her personal safety. More than 10 years later, she is again in a fight for her life and her love. As an American I believe my government should recognize our marriage and give Monica a green card. Too many couples have suffered like us for too long. The deportations and separations have to end.

Watch Josh and Henry on FOX News

Josh Vandiver and Henry Velandia on Fox News WNYW, October 25, 2010

Josh Vandiver & Henry Velandia Interviewed at Princeton About Their Fight Against DOMA


Following up on the story published by the Daily Princetonian this weekend, Josh Vandiver and Henry Velandia sat down for an on-camera interview about their relationship, their marriage, their fight against DOMA and their campaign to stop Henry’s deportation. Join and “share” their Facebook page here.

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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.