|Doug and Alex celebrating after their marriage in 2010|
"Last month, there was a flurry of excitement among binational gay couples when a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services spokesman indicated that cases would be "held in abeyance" while broader legal issues were reviewed. Hopes soared that this would mean a halt in deportations of foreigners married to gay Americans, but within two days the federal agency said there would be no policy change.
"It's gut-wrenching to go through the ups and downs," said Doug Gentry, whose Venezuelan spouse, Alex Benshimol, faces a deportation hearing in July.
They briefly hoped the case would be put on hold — but now have been notified that an application for permanent residency for Benshimol has been denied.
"I've had the rug pulled out from under me so many times," Gentry said. "You're so used to getting your hopes up, only to get them dashed, that you almost don't want to hope."
The couple, who married last year in Connecticut after six years as partners, run a pet grooming business in Palm Springs, Calif.
"I don't feel we're different from any other family," said Gentry, 53. "I don't want to be forced to stay with my husband by going into exile, and leaving my home, my business and my country behind."
Read more "Gay California Couple Joins Challenge to Defense of Marriage Act, Fight Deportation," October 24, 2010, Stop The Deportations - The DOMA Project.