|Michael and Craig have been together for five years. They married in Canada in November 2006.|
I landed in Chicago and waited for close to an hour for Craig to show up. I was looking forward to meeting him in person. I was also second-guessing myself. I thought to myself, "What have I done?"
All my anxiety melted away as soon as I got into his car and saw his smile. The 3-hour drive back to his house was the best 3-hour drive I have ever experienced. We talked as if we had never been apart and all my fears of meeting this man went away. On that trip I asked Craig to marry me. We planned for a wedding that could accomodate our friends and family. (I wanted to elope to Niagara Falls, but we decided to wait and bring the most important people in our lives together for the occasion.)
A few months later guests arrived in Vancouver for our wedding. It was November 2006. Craig comes from a very devote Mormon family, so only one of his brothers came up for the wedding. It was a beautiful and memorable day for us.
For the past five years I have spent a lot of time in South Bend helping Craig to build a home and a life together for us both. I would travel back to Canada routinely so I would not be "illegal" in the United States. Finally, when it was clear we could not make our future in South Bend, we planned to uproot Craig and start again in Canada. We were just waiting for the day that our house would sell in Indiana and Craig could move to Canada. (Craig has achieved Canadian permanent residence status and is able to work and live in Canada on the basis of his marriage to me.) My very last attempt to re-enter the U.S. was very difficult. The Customs and Border Protection wanted the proof of “ties” to Canada—a normal requirement for all visitors, asked more typically of frequent visitors—as they viewed me as a potential overstay risk. I would up in Canada for another three months collecting all the evidence just to request admission for another visit. Today, when I trying to cross into the United States, Customs and Border Protection told me that all the documentation I had gathered was not sufficient. They advised me that if I tried one more time to come into the U.S. as a visitor without stronger proof of my intention to return home to Canada that I would be denied entry for 5 years. So today Craig is in Indiana packing our lives up, getting ready to say goodbye to his friends and family so we can be together and enjoy our life and our marriage. This is why we need DOMA repealed as quickly as possible. Until our marriage is considered equal under the law, the Uniting American Families Act, remains the only other solution. We will continue to support all efforts to end discrimination against our marriage that has forced Craig and me to leave our life in Indiana and move to Canada. I hope you will help us end the inequality that separates and exiles so many gay binational couples.
Thank you for listening, please feel free to share my story with anyone that will listen.