Tuesday, August 9, 2011

DOMA Is Still Alive, Folks

If you have any doubt that there needs to be a lot more work regarding the benefits of marriage for LGBT Americans, look no further than here.

Even though DOMA has seen a decided lack of support from the Administration in recent weeks, one couple still feels the pain of its oppressive policies.  Bradford Wells and Anthony John Makk, who have been together for 19 years and married 7 years ago in Massachusetts, are now slated to be separated as deportation proceedings have been completed against Makk.  He is going to be shipped back to his native Australia, which is doubly sad as he is his husband's primary caregiver.  Wells suffers from AIDS, and Makk's absence is sure to have an impact on his health.

And what is the immigration authorities justification for deporting Makk?  That's right, you guessed it!  The Defense of Marriage Act.

"Bradford Wells, a U.S. citizen, and Anthony John Makk, a citizen of Australia, were married seven years ago in Massachusetts. They have lived together 19 years, mostly in an apartment in the Castro district. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services denied Makk's application to be considered for permanent residency as a spouse of an American citizen, citing the 1996 law that denies all federal benefits to same-sex couples.

"The decision was issued July 26. Immigration Equality, a gay-rights group that is working with the couple, received the notice Friday and made it public Monday. Makk was ordered to depart the United States by Aug. 25. Makk is the sole caregiver for Wells, who has severe health problems.

"'I'm married just like any other married person in this country,' Wells said. 'At this point, the government can come in and take my husband and deport him. It's infuriating. It's upsetting. I have no power, no right to keep my husband in this country. I love this country, I live here, I pay taxes and I have no right to share my home with the person I married.'"

While I blog frequently about marriage equality, I never really felt exceedingly passionate about the struggle for gay couples to get married in this country.  I often felt that ENDA and the repeal of DADT were far more important to LGBT Americans.  In fact, when I get married in March, it will most likely not be a legal ceremony.  Adam and I are happy just confirming our love to each other in front of friends (though Dan Choi, our officiant, recently got ordained just in case).  However, for bi-national couples, the right to get married is an important one and extremely necessary to stay together.

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