Sunday, April 3, 2011

NY Daily News: Married Gay Couple May Be Torn Apart Because of DOMA

Full story here.

The DOMA Project urges gay and lesbian binational couples not to file alien relative petitions and/or applications for a green card without consulting a qualified attorney with experience in LGBT immigration and DOMA. The Department of Homeland Security has said that such filings will be denied pursuant to DOMA. Such denials can lead to institution of deportation proceedings against the foreign spouse.

"A gay Long Island couple who have played by the immigration rules for more than a decade are stuck in a Catch-22 that could tear them apart just when they need each other most. New Yorker Edwin Blesch, 70, and his South African husband, Tim Smulian, 65, have been spending six months on Long Island and six months abroad to comply with Smulian's tourist visa.

But Blesch, who has HIV, suffered several mini-strokes and other complications and is now unable to travel safely. Smulian is his primary caregiver - but has no way to stay here permanently.

"It's not a good idea for me to be away," Blesch, a retired English professor, told the Daily News. "And it's not a good idea for me to be away from Tim. "That's the conundrum."

The men were married in South Africa in 1999, a union that is recognized by New York State and Suffolk County. That allows them to get a joint fishing license each year, but it hasn't helped with federal immigration benefits - which are not extended to gay couples.

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