Neither Here Nor There

It’s a classic story of boy meets boy.

Boy goes to party he doesn’t want to attend, sees French Boy there. French Boy also doesn’t want to be at party.

Boy…wait.

This is going to be confusing. Let me start again.

Mark and Fred met over 20 years ago at the party of a mutual friend. Mark was taken right away with Fred’s French accent.

Since then they have owned 3 homes together (actually, I believe they are on home #4), gotten legally married, and had four children.

In 2004, Fred’s visa was due to expire.  By the time he got an immigration lawyer and looked into an extension, it was too late.  At this point, they had two children and didn’t want to separate them from one parent, so they prepared themselves for a move to France. Luckily, Fred was able to obtain a student visa.

During this time, we experienced what so many gay binational couples come to feel: a growing sense of frustration with the blatant discrimination that prevents gay American citizens from sponsoring their partners, even when they are legally married. We were featured in the documentary, Through Thick and Thin, which profiled the experiences of a diverse group of binational couples. We felt then, as we do now, that we must stand up for our rights. We could not live on this roller coaster, without any way to plan a secure future for our family, and just sit on our hands and do nothing.

In 2008 Mark and Fred were married.

A year ago, Fred’s citizen status became an issue again and in turn put their family in jeopardy.

In the United States, Mark is legally the father of four children.  Fred is legally the father of the same four children, however legally Mark and Fred are nothing to each other.  Their 22 years together and their marriage mean nothing to the law here.

But they can’t go to France either.

Even though France would recognize the relationship (not the marriage) and probably let Mark live there legally as an immigrant, same-sex couples are not allowed to adopt.  This means France refuses to recognize Mark and Fred’s children as being their children.

So.

They are trapped.

Their world is here in the United States.  Their family, friends, children…life.

But what are their options?  Mark stay in the USA with the kids as they watch their other parent ripped from their lives and shipped to France OR to stay together, search for a third country that will accept them.

You can read the details of their fight to stay in the U.S. here.

The point is, the USA currently discriminates against married gay couples in matters of immigration/deportation.

Recently President Obama “came out” as being in favor of gay marriage, yet Mark and his family still hang out in immigration purgatory. The Obama administration has the power to approve Fred’s status.  It has the ability to respect the family.

It sickens me that heterosexual marriages are considered “sacred” and the foundation of family. Heterosexuals use marriage as a throw away tool to stay in the country all the time.

But when a legitimately married homosexual couple with four kids and over two decades of love and family want the same right? It’s denied.

If President Obama truly believes in gay marriage, he needs to work to abolish the Defense of Marriage Act.  Not only is it unconstitutional, but it’s currently ripping real, loving families apart.

Please write to help Mark and Fred and families just like them:

Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr.
393 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
P: 202-224-6324
Toll Free: 866-802-2833
Fax:  202-228-0604
 
Secretary Janet Napolitano
Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528
202-282-8000