Wednesday, June 15, 2011

After Marrying, Brian & Anton File Spousal Green Card Petition and Continue Their Fight Against Deportation

Getting Married in DC
by Brian Andersen

In February, we were saved from a Valentine's Day deportation by the tremendous, non-stop, round the clock efforts of Lavi Soloway and the Stop the Deportations campaign.

At the time Anton and I were not married, but we had been dating for seven months and we felt that we had a very strong connection. We were in love and we knew that we wanted to spend our lives together.

Some people may have wondered why we fought so hard for something that was relatively new? For us there was never a question that we had to fight for our love.

We were interviewed at the time by many journalists, and CNN and many other news outlets reported our fight to stop Anton's deportation. While we won a temporary victory but we still live in constant fear that Anton could be deported. In the meantime, our relationship has progressed. We moved in together and started to make plans to marry on June 12 in Washington, DC and then to celebrate with family in friends in August.

The decision to marry was not one that we took lightly. Despite knowing each other for just ten months, we knew that this was a commitment we wanted to make to each other. In the past ten months we have been inseparable, spending at least five days a week together and often more.

From the time we met, we knew there was something special between us.  Naturally conversation led to what we wanted and expected out of our futures, both individually and together. Of course the topic of marriage came up, and was always something we repeatedly returned to as something we wanted for ourselves down the road. Neither of us wanted to take that leap without careful consideration, and with time we just knew it was the right move for us. We were living together, spending all of our time together, sharing expenses, laughs, meals, and nights at home watching movies.

Philadelphia Weekly reports on Brian and Anton's wedding plans
We chose to have a small ceremony in Washington, DC for a few reasons. First, unlike Pennsylvania where we lived, Washington was one of the six jurisdictions in the United States where we could have a legally recognized marriage.    As a binational gay couple, our relationship faces blatant discrimination by federal law, specifically the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which precludes the federal government from recognizing our marriage. We specifically chose Lafayette Park across from the White House for our ceremony because we wanted to make a statement to the Obama administration with the most personal moments---our marriage---while standing in a pleasant and aesthetically appealing environment. Our feeling is that the Obama administration is our ally, and so we celebrate that a champion of LGBT rights occupies the White House. At the same time, while Obama administration has come out and publicly stated it believes DOMA is unconstitutional, we need him to do more to ensure that we are not torn apart.  Our message: "President Obama, Defend Our Marriage."  

To our surprise, two other binational couples –complete strangers to us who heard about our plans to marry– showed up unexpectedly to show their support for our marriage and celebrate the day with us. It warmed our hearts to know we weren’t alone, and to meet others who were facing these challenges.

Last night I filed a marriage-based green card petition to sponsor Anton to remain in the United States. I filed this petition to keep my husband and life partner here and to keep my family together. That should be the automatic result, but because of DOMA we embark on the next chapter in a fight that none of us should have to fight.  Anton and I will continue to fight for ourselves and for the thousands of binational couples out there.

We hope that those who come after us can follow the path of any other American citizen who can sponsor his or her spouse for a green card. We can only hope that day comes sooner rather than later.

For more background on this case see Breaking News From Philadelphia Weekly.


  1. Brian:
    We are VERY proud of you & your efforts in bringing this situation to the forfront & you have our total support. Sure wish you had gone to Law School :-)
    Love you & GO GET 'EM!!!!!!
    Grandad & Darleen

  2. Thank you Brian and Anton!

    Through the example of your fine love and devotion to each other, your courage, your hard work and dedication to bringing out the true good spirit of America, you are helping us get closer to winning our equality and freedom to love.

    Madison Reed

  3. Thanks!! :) Its funny that Jodie is in a similar type of situation too Grand Pop...