Source: Lez Get Real
- Lesbian spouse 102 days in ICE detention
- A Binational Xmas wish in a letter to President Obama
- ANOTHER American exiled! – UAFA Now or 1,666 years of stories
Lesbian Spouse 102 days in ICE Detention
By Melanie Nathan
Here is a letter which was sent to President Obama, with the emotive reflections of a foreign born spouse. Although each story has a unique fingerprint, this is different from the very many stories we hear, as this letter reflects the abhorent and unconscienable detention of the writer by the American authorities.
Dear President Obama, (January 3, 2010)
Preaching in the 60s, when the US was racked with racism and the horrors of the Vietnam War, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. inspired the American people to pursue justice, the truth and simply to do the right thing, because “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy”.
So, where do the American people stand at this point in time of challenge and controversy, although almost 50 years later? Does America, the “land of the free and home of the brave” hold up to George Washington’s expectation of “Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair”? As I look through my wife’s passport, I find comfort in words of wisdom by the 34th President of the United States Dwight D. Eisenhower: “Whatever America hopes to bring to pass in the world must first come to pass in the heart of America.”
It was in 1963 when Dr. King delivered his speech “I Have a Dream” in Washington. Dr. Martin Luther King had a dream, a dream to end racial segregation and racial discrimination; in 2009 as a result this country elected its first African-American President Barack Hussein Obama. In 1967 the Supreme Court declared interracial marriage fully legal in all U.S. States. Since then many more subjects on human rights issues have been addressed and corrected by congress. Just a few months ago President Obama signed hate crimes bill into law as a step toward change to “help protect our citizens from violence based on what they look like, who they love, how they pray”, (CNN Politics article, Oct. 28, 2009). So, could one finally say that all men are not only created equal but surely treated equal as well? Can America stand up to the world and with integrity proclaim that “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” – an excerpt from the Declaration of Independence written on pages 10-11 of the American passport.
I look at my wife’s American passport with its beautiful design, I read those profound words, wise words by wise men and I wonder why those words don’t reflect our reality!
Is it because our life is out of the ordinary range of the usual set of circumstances? Is it simply because our life differs from the typical portrayal of a married couple? We are committed to each other, we know each other for more than 11 years, we love each other, we live together, we built a life together, we are married and we actually would have a happy life if it wasn’t for the remaining failure of the U.S. Government to ensure the pursuit of happiness for all U.S. citizens; this nation still neglects the basic human rights of their homosexual fellow citizens treating them as “second-class”, just a minority…
“All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.” – Thomas JeffersonThis nation must make significant changes to ensure equal rights for gays and lesbians. Although President Obama has urged Congress to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, the States of New York and New Jersey recently refused the recognition of same-sex marriages. The subject matter becomes even more profound when dealing with immigration issues, as my wife and I do. I am a 47-year-old highly educated woman from Europe. For over 11 years I stayed in the US “out of status”, constantly living on the edge of being terrified of discovery and deportation. One could say fear was my constant companion. It was no fairy tale life or even in any way close to living the American dream, but as Albert Einstein simply puts it, “In the middle of difficulty lays opportunity”.
Most bi-national heterosexual couples living in the U.S. have no problem staying together; the American citizen can sponsor their foreign spouse in obtaining a green card including work authorization. The foreign-born spouse can easily pursue and further her/his professional career. Bi-national homosexual couples are denied those rights. I depended on my wife/life partner for support since I had no work authorization. Often I felt deprived of the right to contribute to society as well as my own household, simply put: a waste of time, a waste of talent, and a waste of life! In all those 11 years, my wife and I were “prisoners” of a political system that seems antiquated, out-dated and rather forces people into committing fraud. Many commit marriage fraud as a means to an end in exchange for a green card, but I never considered this to be an option, because for me marriage is too sacred to be dishonest about.
On March 18, 2009 our life took a tragic turn. As feared for so many years, I was finally picked-up at a Greyhound bus station as a result of a raid by border patrol and taken into custody by ICE (Immigration Customs Enforcement). I was detained for 102 days in a facility for ‘illegal aliens.’ I don’t think that any one of us, meaning my American spouse, our American friends and family members knew detention centers for immigrants existed. I was treated as a criminal, although with no criminal record at all. I was even told by officers in this facility that we all were criminals and deserve to be treated as such.
During my time in detention, we exhausted our financial resources for lawyer fees, travel expenses from my home to my out of State place of detention, phone cards and commissary goods, etc. A detainee is allowed a budget of $40 on phone cards per week which equals 140 minutes in talk time with your loved ones, or in other words a 20 minutes phone conversation per day. There were eight phones for over 100 female detainees. Well, the phone conversation with your family is your lifeline, and the only way to communicate with the outside world other than writing a letter. After an intake process, the detainee is provided with one set of sheets, one towel, one sweatshirt, two t-shirts, two pants and one pair of shoes. Everything else must be purchased with commissary such as shampoo, soap, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste etc., etc.
Visitation is only on Sundays for four hours; no detainee is allowed more than two visitors at a time unless the warden grants request.
Medical service is almost non-existent. Once I was very sick, I had high fever, sore throat, and sinus infection, earache and yeast infection all at once. Before being able to be seen by a nurse, I had to file a request. I was told it would take up to 48 hours to get a response. When I finally received medical care I had to choose between the two symptoms for which only one could be treated and given medication; for the second I had to file a new request and wait another 48 hours. On several occasions I have witnessed neglect of medical care of detainees in need of medication, not to mention dental care, which was completely non-existent. One detainee was advised to use common glue to repair a broken crown; waiting time to see a dentist was up to three months. Officers failed to provide underwear, sanitary napkins as well as toilet paper. Often I couldn’t comprehend still being in the United States of America, especially when witnessing detainees in handcuffs and shackles, reversed racism and the abuse of power.
Deprived of one’s dignity when for example announced over loud speakers to line up for the “feedings” as the officers called our breakfast, lunch and dinner, detention certainly took its toll on me. As I became severely depressed, my Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder (PTSD), I suffered as a result from years of trauma in Europe worsened. With no psychological help in sight one can only try to survive holding on to faith. A typical night as a detainee consists of waking up to a flashlight shoved in our faces every two hours by an officer along with the clinking sound of their keys made sleep impossible. I could list a dozen or more such infractions I suffered while detained, but it has taken me seven months to gather the strength to write even these details. Suffice to say, detention of immigrants who have not committed a crime is completely dehumanizing; such standards simply display and validate the civil and human rights crisis in the U.S. The current immigration system “perpetuates inequalities contrary to a free and democratic society” (NYCLU).
On June 26, 2009 I was finally released with the assistance of my spouse’s congressman, and it is this extraordinary act of compassion and courage that makes me love this country even more, despite all odds and the pain of being detained. It is with this extraordinary act of compassion for his constituent that made our reunion possible, a living testimony for the principle of the Declaration of Independence (1776), the unalienable Right to the pursuit of Happiness. For some U.S. citizens their rights to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness means changing laws becomes a demand, to ensure homosexual bi-national couples receive the same fair treatment than their fellow heterosexual citizens, after all they are all your constituents. Comprehensive Immigration Reform must include UAFA – Uniting American Families Act!
“Despite the progress we’ve made, there are still laws to change and hearts to open,” President Obama said during his address at the dinner for the Human Rights Campaign in October of 2009. “This fight continues now, and I’m here with the simple message: I’m here with you in that fight.”
Are you, President Obama?
“If there is no struggle there is no progress…. This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both.” – Frederick DouglassSincerely,
Although the writer was released from detention – her battle has only just began as she and her spouse struggle desperately to remain in the United States. Her Spouse cannot leave the USA for many reasons of extreme hardship and this couple simply cannot be separated. Financial issues persist for them as they try to pursue this case with attorneys. How can any American or politician read this case without shame?
A Binational Xmas Wish in A letter to President Obama
By Melanie Nathan
Dear Mr. President,
My family of four, including my two young daughters, aged 4 and 12 years, wish You, the First Lady and the First Daughters a very Happy Holiday and New Year. Not to forget Maya Lasso Absa to Bo, First Dog… best wishes.
With these wishes, I would be remiss to ignore this opportunity to alert you, with respect Mr. President, to the other families, less fortunate than mine, the same-sex families, who are unable to spend this Holiday Season together.
During January of 2002, I went into an online chat room for the first time ever and developed a friendship with a woman from Israel. Coincidentally she was soon to arrive in the USA to study at a University in Texas. I invited her to stop in California, en route, so we could meet and soon I realized that this was the person with whom I wanted to spend the rest of my life.
Our relationship flourished while Dor was studying in Texas and soon she transferred to a college near my home in Northern California; and so we moved in together and married as soon as it was legal for us to do so. At the time, my daughter, HC, from my previous relationship was five years of age. Dor and HC developed a close relationship and they could not have loved each other more.
We were able to change Dor’s student visa to a very limited R1 visa. Notwithstanding the fact that California recognized our domestic partnership and subsequent marriage, I the US citizen could not sponsor Dor in the same way as a different gender couple could.
Dorit taught Jewish religious studies, Hebrew and Bible at a local congregation and was qualified for the R1 Visa. We were luckier than many others in the same-sex binational community because we had found a way, albeit expensive and fraught with difficulties. With Dor the last in her family of Holocaust survivors, and biological clock ticking, we decided to extend our family and to inseminate so that Dor would carry a baby for us. The birth of Refael was one of the most exhilirating moments in our lives, with HC, the big sister ecstatic at the arrival of her new baby sister. hc and baby refael
Our lives continued; and we were a tight family, notwithstanding our constant fear that we would have to part ways if Dor’s Visa did not lead to her intended immigration within the time constraints of the R1 termination date. The termination date came and we advocated crazily for the renewal by Congress of the R1. With mere days and then hours to the sunset of the law, and Dor’s process hanging severely in the balance, Congress did extend the Visa, setting yet another sunset date for March 06, 2009.
Dor’s lawyer informed us that our chances of success were remote as the timing was still not in our favor, as well as other aspects of the statute and rules that were so onerous and arbitrary on the part of DHS. We were given low odds and another huge legal bill and a decision to make – should we continue on this Visa path? The choices were dim; in fact there were no feasible choices. I could not face the Sophie’s choice that had been haunting me for so many years.
How could I leave my then 11 year old (due to shared custody agreement with me ex) and go with Dor and the baby to Israel? How could I say goodbye to the love of my life-my spouse, and my then three year old Refael. How could I split the sisters? I went to see my member of Congress and there was nothing that could be done for our situation. As an American Citizen and with both children American citizens there was no law to prevent the high probability of Dor having to leave the USA. I had also determined that I would never prevent Dor from taking our baby with her; the attachment and bond between them would be forcibly broken and my baby would suffer irreparable harm. There were no choices, only extreme denial.
So we paid and prayed… and then before the final impending sunset date, DHS showed up at our Congregation, with three official investigators to check that Dorit’s basis for her Visa to Immigrate was legitimate; and of course it was. They approved her application and we were able to submit the finalizing Petition.
With 7 days to the sunset of the R1 process, we received a letter stating that the R1 Visa Law was going to sunset and this time there would be no renewal by Congress. This would not give enough time to process the final piece of Dor’s approved application. Again I spun into denial determined to fight and not willing to think of my ‘Sophie’s choice.’ There was no plan B.
It was then that I went to Senator Feinstein for help and with mere hours to the sunset of the law, Dor’s file was given a priority position and viewed just before the 11thhour. Dor was approved and received her green card about two weeks later. This four year hell cost us a great deal, emotionally stressful and financially debilitating.
I calculated how much more it had cost us compared to that of a straight couple who could simply Petition because of their recognized marriage. I took into account legal fees, non-resident student fees, work limitation losses and Visa fees and renewals: A whopping total of $71,600 for us (over a six year period) compared to $1,500 for a straight couple over a six month period.
It was the spread of our good news that led to my introduction to Shirley Tan and Jay Mercado and my advocacy for them and other binationals has helmed my 2009 year.
Mr. President, with great respect, I am mentioning this during the holiday season because this time for many is fraught with sadness, fear and pain. Exiled Americans, who are with their spouses, cannot come home to spend Xmas with extended families and if they do, they have to leave spouses abroad. Tens of thousands of same sex couples are unable to spend these holidays together because they are stuck in different countries. These families cannot wait any longer. Our binational spouses and partners are being turned away at US airports, even as I write these words, at the arbitrary instance of an ICE officer.
We cannot wait any longer and this President Obama is what we can do:
1. Ask Congress to formulate a special interim Visa for Same-sex Spouses, Domestic Partners, Civil Union Partners, for entry into the USA, and for the ability to remain and work in the USA – possibly subject to renewal and/or- with a path to immigration. This can be done in a similar manner to the R1 Visa Process. It should however be less complicated and could be set for termination when UAFA or similar legislation is passed, or until DOMA is repealed.
2. The burden of proof could be similar to a marriage – where, inter alia, the following is required:
a. Proof of certification of marriage, Domestic Partnership, Civil Union contract – from any jurisdiction, anywhere in the world, proving a contractual nexus between the spouses; and also an Affidavit of suport from American Spouse;
b. The same two year conditional residency as spouses have – where the parties attend an interview where they prove that they have been living together in relationship, to back up the contract in the exact same way as straight people have to do;
c. Anyone who has a ten year ban – who was in a Same sex relationship at the time – ought to have their case reviewed to negate the ban and criteria for this should be established;
d. Same sex couples ought to have a process to convert Visas to this Visa status, regardless of waivers they may have signed.
(I have written a more detailed drafty of legislation for such a VISA and its available to anyone interested.) UPDATED; SIGN PETITION
I believe if this was done in the form of a special visa category and did not alter the Immigration and Naturalization Act in any way, it could perhaps work its way through the system quickly and differently. The way it is written will not conflict in any way with DOMA and its tacit restrictions on the Immigration and Naturalization Act.
The legitimacy would rest on the fact that de facto relationships and families exist, a simple fact of life; and that because they are specifically ousted by law, with their civil right to live together impeded, they should be allowed a special visa status, until such time as the law changes to include them, so that they no longer need to be considered a special class for special rights. I say the argument here is to embrace an agenda of special rights, as an interim necessity, and to counter the argument against it by admitting it to be just what it would be which is special rights!
For as long as DOMA exists LGBT relationships are automatically a special class, simply because one cannot deny the factual existence, the contractual commitment and the ethical obligations these families have assumed.
Now while none of us want special treatment and would much rather have equal treatment, I guarantee that 95% of binational couples who are currently in jeopardy or suffering hardship by virtue of their non- status, would agree to a moratorium or interim visa so that they can live their lives in peace, in their own country and with whom they wish, as a matter of immediacy.
This would in no way derogate from the work that needs to be done to amend this injustice in the long term. All it would do is stop subjecting LGBT couples to immediate human rights abuses engendered by the lack of equality with regard to visas and immigration.
Regardless of my plea for binationals and certainly not to negate the urgency, what we need Sir, for the long term, is your leadership to pursue what you promised and that is the passage of repeal legislation for DOMA.
Perhaps pursuing Congressman Jerrold Nadler’s “Respect for Marriage Act” ought to be the priority of all LGBT movements, organizations and leaders, above and beyond DADT, ENDA, UAFA, etc. It is my contention that the pivotal legislation detrimentally impacting the LGBT community is the insidious one that seeks to deny our de facto relationships, which to my way of thinking denies us the right to be gay. If we are denied the validity of our relationships, it is tantamount to an overt endorsment that we ought not have our relationships – what could be worse?
If we cannot sponsor our spouses to be with us in our country, causing banishment from the USA, then we are thwarting those lesbian and gay relationships; – Silence by this Administration and the continued persecution of gays and lesbians, profiled and deported at the airports by suspicious ICE officers, is the same as overtly stating that exiling our gays and lesbians is acceptable. The relationships are the essence of who we are and the absolute benchmark for acceptability, beyond mere tolerance.
This situation, Mr. President, is hardly known by mainstream America and I imagine once revealed more openly, through columns such as mine, where I am publishing this letter, the average American may feel compassion or perhaps even some guilt. The fact that America can exile its own is simply unconscionable. As a community we are hurt and sickened by the perception that a Democratic majority and President cannot rescue us from the throat hold of the religious right and from States that vote away our rights.
So at this holiday time, when families are gathering together in happiness and joy, please find a way to remember those Americans. their beloved and children who, because of DOMA, cannot share these days- and all our community can do at this time is beg and pray for something extraordinary, perhaps a miracle. Our exiles and exiles-to-be cannot wait for the impending Immigration Reform battle or for UAFA to garnish more co-sponsors. Our binationals do not want to be the “Public Option” of Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
Our binationals cannot wait to hold the hand of a dying parent, nor be on foreign turf if they themselves are ailing, nor be subjected to losing homes, jobs, and businesses, nor the separation of siblings. Our binationals are running out of money to support the long distance relationships.
By XMAS time next year, it is my Holiday prayer that our binationals will all reunite through whatever means it takes – but here and now Mr. President we need your leadership and for you to take reach beyond business as usual in D.C. to accomplish what for us was also a “YES WE CAN.” logo ambassadors
Thank you for reading this and in Solidarity I say,
Happy Holidays and a Miraculous New Year,
Mom of two daughters
Unable to Sponsor Spouse
ANOTHER American Exiled! – UAFA Now or 1,666 years of Stories
By Melanie Nathan:
This week a Plane is leaving for Taiwan and one more American is forced to leave the Country he loves so dearly, simply because the love of his life is of the same sex. He is about to be exiled and here is his story……. but first let me explain
In April 2009, I advocated to help Shirley Tan obtain the introduction of a Private Bill from Senator Feinstein. Her story is well known to those who follow the plight of our bi-national brothers and sister and the desperate need for legislation to keep us in the US with equal rights to sponsor our partners for green cards. Now that we have been left out of the current Immigration Reform Bill, as introduced this past week by Gutierrez, I pitched a special column to Paula Brooks of Lez Get Real and she said “Go for it!”
Here is the plan – I will post a new true life story, bi- monthly featuring a story of one binational lesbian or gay couple who are either in hiding in the US, waiting for a visa to run out, living in exile or living alone unable to be with a beloved partner. I vow to do this until one of two things happen first:
a. UAFA (or equivalent) is passed into law, giving us our equal right to sponsor our partners for green-cards, equally; or
b. I run out of binational couples – The estimate is between 40,000-100,000 binationals which means I can keep writing – lets see- 2 per month for 12 months – divide into – lets do the smaller amount in case the big amount is inaccurate – so divide 24 into 40,000 = 1,666 years – please check my math….. okay I hope “a” happens first!
My first bi-national story so published fell into my lap this week, through one of the very many responses I have received to my recent posts. I have been given permission by Des and Jon to publish their story and my subsequent communications with them. I hope you will share these stories with everyone you know. It is time to wake America up to what is going on. We have been told by our representatives that the ONLY way we will get legislation passed is if we tell our stories –but that cannot stop at the door of our friends, only. We must open the hearts and minds of all American; even the most progressive of Americans are completely unaware of the enormity and extent of the hardship to our community. Many presume that we can stay together in the USA simply because a few States allow us to marry- but that is not the case…..
Please read the story of John and Des – in their own words and then read the correspondence that follows:-
This week a Plane is leaving for Taiwan and one more American is forced to leave the Country he loves so dearly, simply because the love of his life is of the same sex. He is about to be exiled and here is his story….
Feb- My name is ‘Des’*, I am a male U.S. citizen, born and raised here. In August 2002, after being largely unemployed for more than 2 years as a result of the dot-com bust, I went to Taiwan to support myself as a teacher of English as a Foreign Language. In 2004 I got a job as a technical writer in the capital city, Taipei. In July of 2005, I met the love of my life, whom I shall call “John” (not his real name), in Taipei.
Eventually John was able to get a job in the US and after a brief separation we both moved here to my home.
Coincidentally, right about the time I met John, a friend and coworker of mine, “George,” (also a U.S. citizen), who had joined the same company just about the time that I did, met a young woman while on vacation in another country and soon fell in love with and married her.
John is on a very limited visa, which enables him to work for one single company only, on contracts that can be renewed for up to 5 years. His company has notified him that his current contract will not be renewed after the end of 2009. At that time, he will have to leave the USA, and I will have to choose between staying with the person I love or remaining in my home and the country I love.
We have been struggling for years now to find a way to stay in the same country, legally and permanently.
Right now, our best hope seems to be Canada, where we could legally marry – IF we can get in. Ironically, my former coworker, George, returned to the USA with his wife about 6 months ago. Because he is male and she is female, they were able to marry, and he was able to sponsor her for permanent residency in this country. Inexpensively and in a matter of mere months.
However, because John is male and I am male, even if we marry, I cannot sponsor him for a “green card.” We have a committed, permanent, long-term relationship that is exactly like marriage in every way except in the eyes of current U.S. law. I cannot sponsor John because of the discomfort that many people feel about the nature of our relationship in the abstract.
Meanwhile, in reality, John is a highly skilled worker, with a master’s degree in physics and rare expertise in integrated circuitry testing protocols, and our economy is being denied his contributions because as a U.S. citizen I am being denied our constitutional guarantee of “equal protection under the law.”
George and his wife are now living peacefully in another state. John and I, however, are living with the daily stress that comes with not knowing when or where or if we will be able to safely live together in one country without the likelihood that one of us will have to leave at an unpredictable time because of immigration law. (Dated 3/09)”
In July of 2009 I was contacted by Des and he was in great despair; he told me that there were no options available to them. He wrote:-
Melanie, I’ve followed your website for a while and just read your article on LezGetReal. My partner is a citizen of Taiwan and will have to leave the country when his work visa expires in December. For about a year and a half, I’ve been trying to find a way for us to at least stay in North America, if not the USA, by immigrating to Canada. But that option continues to seem impossible, for many reasons. It is not as easy as people think. By now, I’m resigned to the strong likelihood that UAFA will not pass and that I will have to once again go and live in a polluted, overcrowded, sweltering developing country where I can barely speak the language in order to stay with my partner. I’ve tried repeatedly to talk to my Congressman (Pete Sessions, R-TX), but he has repeatedly been evasive and even deceptive and has refused to meet with me. …………………. Des.”
There have been exchanges between us over this past year, but adly, this is the latest exchange which I received just these past few days from Des:
Melanie, I read your letter sitting here in a hotel after moving out of our apartment today. Several days of making arrangements, two sets of movers, umpteen boxes and hands worn raw.
So it really hit home with me when you say in your letter (now on your blog at www.oblogdeeoblogda.wordpress.com ) that nothing can be worse than having to leave your home in order to flee to a foreign country just to be able to continue living with your partner.
We will be flying out to Taiwan in a few days.
My Congressman, Pete Sessions is one of the hard-core cookie-cutter “conservative Christian Republicans” who will never spout off anything other than the latest GOP talking points. I tried on multiple occasions to lobby him on UAFA, but he won’t even be honest about stating what his position is.
We’ll be in Taiwan for god-knows-how-many years now. We are both sad, my partner maybe more so, because he feels like in some way he has “failed” in our attempts to live in America.
I don’t know what to say – am physically and psychologically exhausted. Thank you for all of your determined hard work on behalf of equal rights for all. I hope that I will be able to contribute in some way, even from 8,000 miles away.
Thanks again, and take good care, Des”
And my response:-
Your letter just broke my heart. I literally weep for you right now. Please keep in touch with me. I feel like I am the one who has failed , as has all of the citizens of the United States – because essentially you are being booted out of your own country. It is all of our responsibility.
Every time I hear someone is exiled it eats at my sense of what is right and I continue to be dumbfounded by the injustice.
I wish you both all the best. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Hugs and Hopefully some peace,
Today.. December 19, 2009
Hi Melanie, Thanks very much for your reply. Please don’t despair — you’re one of our real heroes! John & I will be alright. It’s a drag, but at least we’ll be together, and I think we’ll at least eventually both be employed without any real ticking time-bomb for my having to leave HIS country (fingers crossed). ……….. (information intentionally left out)…………….”
Our brave exile went on to look at his glass half full and like many heroes and courageous exiles expressed his gratitude for at least having a place to go and being with his beloved. There are many of you who cannot and I encourage you to send me your stories too.
Des continues: “I think that we’re relatively lucky compared to many, many other binational couples. I was overwhelmed by all of the people who wrote to me in support and solidarity. Even more amazing was the heart-breaking stories that so many of them have — far worse than our story!
I think you really captured it when you said, “Most of America has no clue and that is what is so outrageous; “ I honestly believe that if the average voter was aware of our plight–conservative, moderate, or liberal–a large majority would say, “Well, they should be able to sponsor their partner, sure.” I think this because of my experience with my brother and sister in law, who are life-long conservative Christian Republicans. So many close friends — progressives — didn’t even realize that I couldn’t just “go to Massachusetts, get married, and then apply.” It’s like there’s this nationwide blanket of denial about the conscience-shocking unfair discrimination that a great many (50,000? 100,000?) U.S. citizens and their partners face because the U.S. Government still openly discriminates against its own citizens on the basis of sexual orientation. So I think the task is to get even moderates and conservatives to agree that the status quo is wrong and to tell their won U.S. Reps just that. Maybe one or more national polls on the issue could help to both educate the masses and also supply empirical evidence to fearful legislators that voting for UAFA would not imperil their re-election chances.
Melanie – your tireless efforts —————intentionally blank——– You do so much for us already! Re: LezGetReal, yes, I’d be honored to be the topic of one of your pieces exposing the plight of binational couples. Des”
Dear Des and John,
Bon Voyage my Brothers.
*Note: Des and John (Real names withheld for their safety)