Friday, June 3, 2011

Married Binational Lesbian Couple, Together for Ten Years and Raising Three Children, Live in Fear of Deportation

Pictured here with their oldest child when he was five years old, the couple also has two daughters
My wife is from England and we have been in a committed life partner relationship for 10 years. When California allowed lesbian and gay couples to marry we knew immediately that we wanted to get married. We knew we wanted that legal document to secure our future together not only for us, but for our family. My wife and I have been living in California for the past 10 years raising my son. Recently, we adopted two girls to expand our family.

It doesn’t make any sense to me that my wife can become a parent to American children through adoption and be legally married to me, an American citizen, but still has no "legal" status. She does not even have the right to get a driver’s license or a lawful employment. All we want is to have the right to be able to make our life together in this country and raise our children. But for the past decade we have lived with great uncertainty. My wife's immigration status lapsed, and she stayed. What choice did we have? We could not leave because of our son. And so, we have created a family life for ourselves under tremendous disadvantages and hardships imposed on us by my government. My wife has had no life and no legal identity in this country for the past 10 years because the “government” declares through the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that our marriage is not real. It feels very real to me. I have been supporting our family this whole time and we have had a lot of ups and downs financially. This situation has almost torn us apart too, but we love each other so much and we just want to live a happy life.  That determination keeps us moving forward day by day with a small hope in our hearts.

I keep saying to my wife that it will happen, that one day my own government will stop this insanity. One day the American government will recognize her as my wife and that we will have all the same rights as other married couples. I reassure her, but it's hard to keep the faith. I know in my heart that one day I will have the same right as all other Americans, to sponsor my spouse and to keep my family intact.  My wife, however, has doubts. Because it’s been so long, she gets stressed out when we leave the house.  Her fear is palpable.  She feels like she has to constantly look over her shoulder and is terrified when she sees a police officer drive by us. She panics that a police officer might pull us over for some routine traffic issue and that may lead to her being discovered and turned over to ICE. She imagines that day coming when she will be taken away.  This constant fear she feels is overwhelming and just not fair. She is a human being and should be treated like one. She is a good wife and mother, why can nobody see what these discriminatory laws are doing to LGBT families like us? We live through so much anxiety, our future is uncertain, we have extreme financial hardship and we are trying to make all of this work and bring up our children to be productive and happy members of society. But our government undermines us by making us all second-class citizens.

Left with no other choice, I almost decided to leave the United States. Even though I truly love my country I felt on occasion that I had to move to England because at least there my wife would have been able to sponsor me for the equivalent of a "green card." I would have been eligible to work and we would have felt at peace. But, because of my son I had to stay here. I get so angry when I start thinking about our situation and I just want to scream at all those politicians who think they know what the American public wants. We really need something to change, and fast. At this point, it’s not about getting a job and helping out financially. It’s about peace of mind and passing on to our children a life in which their parents are treated with dignity and respect by their own government. For us it is about  knowing you truly belong. We are a family, no matter what anyone else says. We have love, understanding and patience on our side.  Children, however, grow up quickly. They need to know that both their parents will be here for the long term. Can any elected official in Washington look at me in the eye and tell me why it makes sense that this government is not establishing a policy to halt deportations of all spouses of lesbian and gay Americans right now? Can any elected official tell me why our children do not deserve to have the same protections as is provided to all other families under U.S. immigration law?

On behalf of our three beautiful children we ask anyone reading this to join our cause. Help us convince both our U.S. Senators, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, to fight for binational couples and our children.  Yes, DOMA must be repealed or immigration laws must be reformed to include LGBT families. But we must also have protection now.


  1. My heart goes out to you and your family. Wishing you the best of luck.
    Sarah in Leeds

  2. I feel your pain, I myself am in a same sex bi-nation long distance relationship for the last year. My girlfriend is an American citizen, I am British by birth but have lived in Ireland most of my life. We maintain our relationship over the internet, spending every minute of spare time talking through IM and with skype. We have so far met each other on a couple of occassions with me trvelling there and her coming here, and are in the process of planning our next trip to see each other. We have looked into immigration laws to see where we stand in regards to begining a life together on a permenent basis, and find ourselves constantly frustrated that there is no legal process that supports our relationship. The only legal option we have so far is for her to leave her country, family, friends, her home everything behind to start a new life with me here. Even with such a huge change for her, we still face having to prove our relationship because we have not been afforded the chance to have a life together under the current immegration laws and the fact that same sex couples are not treated with the same respect, dignity and recognition as striaght couples are. Having to leave each other is heartbreaking every time we are faced with it, the fact we love each other so much and the hope that one day we get that chance to be together and to share that special and amazing connection we have is what keeps us going, and keeps us strong.

  3. I so sympathise!
    I am in England and my girlfriend in California.
    I am struggling to find a job in Cali with a work visa so that we can be together. It seems so unfair that if I was with a man then I could come in to get married. Our situation is very frustrating at times and the distance causes horrible arguments, but I stay strong in the hope that it will all work out as I have never loved anyone like I love her.
    As much as I hate the UK for so many reasons - I do feel 'lucky' that we recognise civil partnerships and we have gay immigration rights for spouses.
    I hope we all get our dreams fulfilled and governments don't keep us from sharing our lives with those we love.
    Be strong x

  4. I hate this and its so frustrating.... i am currently in Arizona and my girlfriend is in mexico. We have been together for 2 years already but she recently had to move back due to the fact that she cant get a work visa. It was hard on us living off of one salary and her having just to stay home all day. One day i lost my job which forced me to move in with my mom and her back to mexico. We talk everyday on the walkie talkie phones but is extremly horrible to be without the person you love. We would love to get married but with our financial situation having to travel to another state is hard. Once i get on my feet we will, and hope one day she can finally have the same rights as me. We are all human beings that cannot be treated like this. Snap out of it AMERICA!!!!

  5. Hi were all in the same boat.I'm a US citizen and my partner lives in Philippines we want to be together so bad but the DOMA is stopping us. I would like to have the same right like the other US Citizen to sponsor my partner. My partner and I just keep hoping that one day she and I will be together here in USA or Phillipines.