Submitted by Douglas Gentry
I am a 53-year old American citizen born in Indianapolis. I met Carlos Alejandro Benshimol (he goes by the name Alex) in June of 2005. Alex is a 46-year old Venezuelan man who has lived in the United States for over 10 years. At the time I met Alex I was working in Palm Springs Monday through Friday and traveling home to Los Angeles on weekends. Our relationship grew more intense over the next year. We knew that we loved each other and that we wanted to stay together as a committed couple. In July 2006 we purchased a house together close to where we had been living in Cathedral City. In December of 2006 Alex and I opened a shop together in Palm Springs, Alex’s Pet Grooming.
In the spring of 2007 we moved my father from Los Angeles to a retirement complex very close to our home. My father was older and disabled. He didn’t need full time help but, having him close, we were able to help him with laundry, grocery shopping and medical appointments.
Alex and my father loved each other very much and had a great relationship. I was very grateful for how much Alex helped care for my dad. I was still traveling for work and never needed to worry about him when I was out of town.
My father died in the spring of 2008. Alex was there for me and helped me through a very difficult time. Alex and my family embraced each other from the start. He grew to know my ex-wife, my two children and become an instant member of a large extended family: including my sister, her husband and 3 children, mother and brothers in law and spouses. We divide spending holidays and occasions together between our home in Cathedral City and their homes in Los Angeles. Alex has a great relationship with my kids and has been incredibly supportive through several extremely difficult times.
|Alex Benshimol and Douglas Gentry Getting Married|
Alex and I knew for a long time that we wanted to get married. We loved each other and had been happy in our relationship for years. Unfortunately we missed the window of opportunity to marry in our own state, so we decided to marry in Connecticut. We were married on July 21, 2010 at the beautiful Lockwood Mathews Mansion in Norwalk by State Senator Bob Duff. However, despite our happiness and our celebration we have to deal with the very stark and difficult reality that Alex now faces deportation proceedings. We are fighting to keep him in this country and fighting the discrimination against us as a gay couple because of the Defense of Marriage Act. Right after we married, I filed a petition for a green card for Alex on the basis of our marriage. I did this because I love him dearly and I want to spend the rest of my life together with him. Venezuela is not an option for him or for us as a couple because it is so dangerous for gay people.
Alex and I have been together for over five and a half years. I’m grateful for having found him every day of my life. And now I’m thankful to be able to call him my husband. Now I want my government to give me the complete rights that every US citizen has, to live my life together with my spouse in peace and without fear of separation.