Thursday, June 2, 2011

Married Houston Couple, David and Marco, Fight Deportation Despite Six Years Together As A Couple

The love of my life, David, is from the beautiful country of Costa Rica; it is a place, where---despite its beauty and popularity for American tourists----lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have been victimized in many cruel and horrible ways over the years. Some horrible experiences there caused him to leave and come to this country seeking safety and peace.

I met David almost six years ago. When we saw each other for the first time, we could not stop smiling. On August 21, 2005, we decided to be in a committed relationship. Ever since, every 21st of each month, we have dinner, get flowers and get each other anniversary cards. (Yeah, we have a pretty good collection of cards). We strongly believe that doing so will help us to keep our love alive and strong. At the beginning of 2008, I placed our wedding rings at the bottom of the wine bottle cases celebrating one more month and I proposed. You should have seen David’s face. Our rings read “M & D 08-21-2005”. Then, on April 25th 2008, we filed for domestic partnership and on October 2008, got married in California. Oh, those were awesome moments! We had our family and closest friends from Los Angeles, San Diego and Las Vegas with us celebrating this memorable occasion with us. It was a very simple ceremony, yet full of loving details such as a small path of roses, balloons in the pool, the cake with two men facing each other, a candle with the words “And two shall become one.” For our honeymoon, we went with our friends to Catalina Island in California and then later on, we went to the Niagara Falls in New York.

Our dreams are the same as those of any other married couple: to be happy, to travel, have a good job, buy a house, start a family and grow old together. When we see kids playing around, our hearts are moved. So we decided we wanted kids. We contacted an adoption agency and we started the application process to become adopting parents. We moved to Houston, TX where we were able to afford a house. One dream came true. A house just for the two of us. Now we could start our family.

As a couple, we have gone through many personal and family situations that helped us to grow and have brought us together. Beautiful moments such as spending our birthdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays along with our families; or heartbreaking moments such as seeing my father passing away; seeing David losing a job due to his immigration status; or the day when David got detained by immigration officers. During those moments, we were able to examine our own personalities with all the defects and virtues we both have. Yes, we have had our share of ups and downs. We have had to ask for forgiveness and forgiven each other many times. But our love can do miracles and we keep holding hands to make it through all circumstances we may encounter.

We depend on each other emotionally and economically. We need to pay the mortgage, home owners insurance, flood insurance, house maintenance, auto insurance, bills, medical bills, food, entertainment, etc. While one is mowing the lawn, the other is cleaning the house. Not to mention taking care of Cooper, Ruper and Kitty… Like I said, we are just a regular couple.

My husband’s immigration status has taken its toll on us. He has been in deportation proceedings since August 2006. It has been tiring and it has taken a lot of energy and money. We have felt hopeless and we cannot plan our future. We have had to make heartbreaking decisions such discontinuing the adoption process; quitting the idea of starting a business, all just because we do not know what the future is going to be. How are we going to start a business if next year we may have to pack our stuff and be forced to leave the United States? How are we going to sell the house without losing the money it has been invested in it?... if it sells! It has been so stressful, that we had to look for therapy to cope with the uncertainty and anxiety we live with.

But the most frustrating part of all is that it is our government that is causing us all this pain by enforcing DOMA, rather than repealing it. I should not be treated as a second citizen; we should not go through this pain. We have seen heterosexual friends become permanent residents and citizens since the government does recognize their marriage. But, that is not the case for us. And yet we have paid all taxes to the government.

We sincerely hope that with the momentum gained since the President and the Attorney General announced their changed position on DOMA that we may find new ways to keep fighting for our right to be recognized as what we are…a regular married couple. David’s immigration judge will not only be David’s judge, but mine as well. USCIS will not only give or deny status to David, but to me as well. We need the fighting chance to stay together. We need to ultimately, stay together.

I beg everyone who is reading this to help us stop the deportations. No American citizen should be forced to watch his spouse deported because of a discriminatory law that the President and Attorney General have said is unconstitutional. It will take an enormous effort by many people to convince Janet Napolitano and President Obama to stop the deportations of the spouses of gay and lesbian Americans. But we have tremendous hope and we are committed to winning protection, not only for us, but for all gay and lesbian binational couples living in fear of separation or exile.

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